Rescuers are hunting for 27 people who are missing after a Vietnam-registered vessel sank in the South China Sea, officials said.
The Xinhua news agency identified the vessel as a trawler, the Phu Tan, saying those on board were fishermen. Their nationalities are unknown.
The report said the vessel sank off the coast of the southern Chinese island of Hainan.
“We received a message asking for help from the vessel today. It has 27 fishermen on board,” a duty officer at the Hainan maritime safety administration said.
The officer said a rescue operation was underway.
In Hanoi, an official from Vietnam’s National Search and Rescue Committee, who asked not to be named, said the vessel was a container ship.
“We just sent our vessels to look for it a few hours ago. This ship belongs to us,” the official said.
“The container ship sank as the main engine was broken and the water came in.
“There were 25 crewmen and two visitors on board. We were told they were all with life jackets but have not found them yet.”