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Japanese ship slams fishing boat; 1 dead
( 2003-12-18 09:13) (China Daily)

SHANGHAI: A Japanese container ship hit a fishing boat from Zhejiang Province on Monday afternoon in the East China Sea, leaving one missing and six injured, according to rescuers.

The injured are out of danger but the missing man is "very likely dead," said Tang Panrun, a spokesman for Shanghai-based East China Sea Salvage and Rescue Bureau.

The seven were all from the fishing boat, which sank immediately after collision.

At around 3 pm on Monday, the "Tokyo Express," sailing from Shanghai towards Japan, crashed into the 80-ton fishing boat as it operated in an area 120 sea miles from Shanghai's Waigaoqiao pier in East China Sea, Tang said.

The Japanese ship helped rescue the injured.

The bureau received an SOS message and immediately sent a helicopter from Shanghai.

"We worked throughout that night, and tried our best, but the weather conditions were very bad at that time," said Tang of the search for the missing person.

The injured were flown by helicopter to Shanghai, and transported to a local hospital for treatment. They were all expected to be discharged soon, a hospital official said.

The bureau is investigating the cause of the accident.

If malfeasance is involved by the Japanese ship, the Chinese could request the ship's owners make reparations as soon as possible, a transportation official surnamed Xu said.

But he admitted accident investigations are difficult to solve and settlements can take months.

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