South Korean tanker capsizes off southwestern Japan, 9 crewmembers rescued and 2 missing

TOKYO — A South Korean tanker capsized off an island in southwestern Japan early Wednesday, and the coast guard said it had rescued nine crew members and was still searching for two who were missing.

The coast guard said it received a distress call from the Keoyoung Sun chemical tanker, saying that it was tilting while taking refuge near Japan’s Mutsure Island due to rough weather.

The island is just off the southwestern end of Japan’s main island of Honshu, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from Tokyo.

The ship was completely capsized by the time rescuers arrived at the scene, the coast guard said. Footage on NHK television showed the ship completely upside down, a rough sea washing over its red underside.

The conditions of the rescued crewmembers were not known.

The ship was carrying a South Korean captain, and its crew included another South Korean national, a Chinese national and eight Indonesians, according to the coast guard.

The tanker was carrying 980 tons of acrylic acid, officials said. No leak has been detected, and officials are studying what environmental protection measures may be needed in case there is a leak.

Acrylic acid is used in plastics, resin and coatings and can irritate the skin, eyes and mucous membranes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

No other details, including how the ship capsized, were immediately known.

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