Crew Called for Help, Then the Tanker Capsized

South Korean vessel carrying acrylic acid ran into rough seas
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2024 12:20 PM CDT
Chemical Tanker Capsizes, Killing 8
A Japanese coast guard patrol vessel, bottom, conducts a search operation near a South Korean tanker that capsized off Mutsure Island in Japan on Wednesday.   (Kyodo News via AP)

A South Korean chemical tanker capsized off an island in southwestern Japan on Wednesday, authorities said, killing eight people on board. One crew member survived, while the fate of two others was unknown, reports the AP. Officials said the tanker was carrying 980 tons of acrylic acid, a corrosive organic compound that's used in adhesives, paints, and polishes. No leak has been detected, and officials are studying what environmental protection measures may be needed in the event of one.

Japan's coast guard said it received a distress call from the chemical tanker Keoyoung Sun, saying that it was tilting while seeking refuge from the weather near Japan's Mutsure Island, about 620 miles from Tokyo in southwestern Japan. The ship was completely capsized by the time rescuers arrived. Footage on Japan's NHK television showed the ship turned upside down, a rough sea washing over its red underside.

South Korean officials held a meeting Wednesday to discuss the capsizing. During the meeting, Vice Foreign Minister Kang Insun asked officials to mobilize all available resources to support rescue works and assist the relatives of South Korean crew members, according to the Foreign Ministry. The ship was en route from the Japanese port of Himeji to Ulsan in South Korea, the coast guard said. Its captain was South Korean, and its crew included another South Korean national, a Chinese national, and eight Indonesians, according to the coast guard. (More cargo ships stories.)

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