Updated: 03/19/2014 20:40 | By Agence France-Presse

Hunt for Chinese crew missing after ship collision off Japan

Nearly a dozen Japanese ships and planes scoured a waterway Wednesday for eight Chinese crew members who went missing after two cargo ships collided at the mouth of Tokyo Bay, the coastguard said.


Hunt for Chinese crew missing after ship collision off Japan

This handout image released from the Japan Coast Guard on March 19, 2014 shows a sonogram image taken by a survey ship showing an object that could be the sunken Panamanian flagged cargo ship Beagle III, about 100 meters deep in Tokyo Bay

The Panamanian-flagged Beagle III, a 12,630-ton vessel carrying steel coil, sank early Tuesday after colliding with the South Korean-registered Pegasus Prime in the Uraga waterway. 

Twelve of the 20 Chinese crew aboard Beagle III were rescued but one of them later died.

"Seven ships and three planes were dispatched today to search for those missing while cleaning up leaking oil" from the boats, said a spokeswoman for the coastguard.

She added that a survey ship had detected an object that could be the sunken Beagle about 100 metres (328 feet) down on the sea floor.

The crew of the 7,406-ton Pegasus Prime -- six South Koreans and eight people from Myanmar -- were mostly unhurt.

The sea was not believed to be rough at the time of the collision, according to the coastguard.

Tokyo Bay is Japan's busiest waterway with some 500 ships passing through daily.

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