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Japan saves 64 Chinese seamen from burning freighter

Published on Oct 21, 2012 3:09 PM
This photo released by Japan's Coast Guard on Oct 21, 2012, shows smoke rising from Chinese cargo ship Ming Yang at sea, around 150km southeast of Okinawa. All 64 Chinese seamen were saved from the burning cargo ship by Japan's Coast Guard. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's Coast Guard on Sunday saved all 64 Chinese seamen from their burning cargo ship, as the two nations remain locked in an acrimonious dispute over contested islands.

The coast guard was alerted by Taiwan authorities late on Saturday about a fire on the 12,703-ton Ming Yang and sent patrol vessels and aircraft to the scene, around 150km southeast of Okinawa.

By 2:30 am Sunday a Japanese coast guard ship had saved 21 people who escaped on a life raft, while 43 others remained on the deck of the burning freighter, registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

All of the Chinese seamen were rescued by 3:47 am, with three of them suffering minor injuries, the coastguard said.

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