Search for missing ROK sailors continues

Updated: 2007-05-14 23:46

JINAN -- The location of the missing Korean ship, which sank off the coast of east China's Shandong Province on Saturday, was identified on Monday afternoon, according to the Shandong Marine Affairs Bureau, but there is still no trace of 16 missing crew members.

The location is pinpointed at 38 degrees 14.45 minutes north latitude, 121 degrees 41.92 minutes east longitude, according to the maritime departments.

To locate the sunken "Golden Rose", nine professional marine surveyors arrived at the scene at 4:30 a.m. Monday and started searching at about 10:40 a.m. Their survey results will provide data to position navigation marks for rescuers.

More than 200 Chinese ships and numerous aircraft have now joined the search for 16 sailors from a Republic of Korea (ROK)-registered ship which sank off the coast of Shandong Province on Saturday.

But high winds and rough seas are hampering rescue efforts.

China's Ministry of Communications has dispatched three search and rescue ships, two helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft to join the search for the sailors -- more than 200 ships and aircraft from eastern Shandong Province and Liaoning Province in the northeast are involved.

Rescuers are battling winds gusting up to 75 kilometers per hour, according to the Shandong Maritime Affairs Bureau.

State Councilor Hua Jianmin has demanded "an all-out effort" to find the missing sailors, eight of whom are ROK nationals, seven from Myanmar and one from Indonesia.

The "Golden Rose" sank off the coast near Yantai City, after it collided with the Saint Vincent-registered "Jinsheng", a container ship operated by Shandong Lufeng Shipping Company Ltd. The collision occurred around 3:00 a.m. on Saturday.

The "Jinsheng" did not stay at the scene but continued to steam toward port, arriving at Dayao Bay in Dalian at 2:50 p.m. on Saturday.

The crew of the "Jinsheng" are being investigated by the Liaoning Maritime Affairs Bureau and ship operators are being investigated in Shandong.

The "Golden Rose", loaded with 5,900 tons of steel, was en route from Liaoning Province to the ROK, while the "Jinsheng" was sailing from Yantai to Dalian, a port city in Liaoning.

On Saturday afternoon, Chinese rescuers found two life rafts, traces of fuel oil and other debris that are confirmed to be from the "Golden Rose".

The Shandong Maritime Affairs Bureau reported the accident and its rescue efforts to the ROK consul general in Qingdao.

A spokesman with the bureau said families of the victims would soon arrive in Yantai. The cause of the collision is under investigation.

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