Six crew members among 13 who were rescued from a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship that sank in the East China Sea off Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture on Wednesday were confirmed dead, the coast guard said Thursday, leaving the total number of fatalities from the incident at eight.

Two have already been confirmed dead and five others are conscious after the 6,551-ton Jintian, carrying 22 crew members, sent out a distress signal and sank early Wednesday. The remaining nine are still missing.

A Japan Coast Guard vessel conducts a search near a lifeboat (top) of a sunken cargo ship on Jan. 25, 2023. (Photo courtesy of the 7th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters)(Kyodo)

Among the six recently confirmed dead, all were either from China or Myanmar. Although none were sent to hospital, contact has been established with their respective countries, the coast guard said.

The vessel made the distress call around 11:15 p.m. from about 110 kilometers west of Japan's Danjo Islands in the East China Sea. A gale warning was in effect when the call was made.

According to the coast guard, the cargo ship was carrying 14 Chinese and eight Myanmar nationals as crew members.


The vessel was en route to South Korea's Incheon from Malaysia, carrying wood.

Six crew members were rescued by the South Korean coast guard and two by Japan's Air Self-Defense Force. The two rescued by the ASDF were confirmed dead after being sent to a hospital via Nagasaki Airport. The incident took place outside Japan's territorial waters.

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Cargo ship with 22 aboard sinks in East China Sea, 2 dead, 9 missing