Freighter sinks off Philippine coast; 10 crew missing

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This photo shows a damaged lifeboat, which is believed to be off the Emerald Star near its sinking site, off the Philippines' eastern coast Friday, Oct. 13. (The 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters via AP)
This photo shows a damaged lifeboat, which is believed to be off the Emerald Star near its sinking site, off the Philippines’ eastern coast Friday, Oct. 13. (The 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters via AP)

Tokyo (AP) — A Hong Kong-registered freighter sank Friday in rough seas off the Philippine coast, leaving 10 crewmembers missing, Japan’s coast guard said.

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It said a distress call was received early Friday from the 33,205-ton Emerald Star from a location about 150 nautical miles (280 kilometers) off the Philippines’ eastern coast. It said 26 crewmembers, all Indians, were aboard.

The coast guard said three passing freighters rescued 16 of the crewmembers from the sea, and a fourth freighter later also joined the search in the area where the Hong Kong ship is believed to have sunk.

Two patrol aircraft dispatched by the coast guard are searching from the sky, while three patrol boats are still on their way, slowed down by a storm in the area.

Photos taken by coast guard aircraft showed a damaged lifeboat believed to be from the sunken ship floating in choppy waters, along with traces of an oil leak.

The coast guard said the cause of the sinking was not known.