Twenty-six Chinese seamen have been rescued from a cargo that is sinking off the northern coast of the Philippines, Chinese embassy in Manila and Maritime Rescue Coordinating Center said Monday.
The Panama-registered cargo "JIN SHAN", with 28 crew members on board, started to go down near the coast of Philippines' Ilocos Norte province at Sunday afternoon, said Huang Li, the consulate official with the embassy, quoting sources of Chinese and Philippine marine rescue teams.
The ship, leaving from the Solomon Islands for China's eastern Jiangsu Province, called Beijing's Maritime Rescue Coordinating Center (MRCC) for help when a hole was found on the crust as it cruised 68 nautical miles northwest of Cape Bojeador on the northern Philippines' Luzon Island, a MRCC official told Xinhua.
Twenty-six seamen, before being trapped in the ocean, were quickly picked up by a passing Japanese crude vessel while the captain and a technician insisted on staying on the sinking cargo to rescue the goods.
The Japanese ship "TOWADA" was heading towards Japan but the communications had been cut off, the MRCC official said, adding that the condition of those saved seamen is still not known and there is no information concerning the whereabouts of the missing.
Philippine coastguard spokesman Lieutenant Commander Armando Balilo told Xinhua that the rescue team, including a rescue boat, a helicopter and a plane, has not found the shipwrecks or the missing crew. But he said the rescue team would extend the scale of search and pursue the Japanese vessel for more information.
(Xinhua News Agency February 18, 2008)