A Panamanian-flagged freighter slammed into a Japanese fishing boat off Japan's southern island of Kyushu early on Wedneday leaving at least one person dead and six missing, coastguard officials said.
The 135-tonne round-haul netter Koyo-Maru No. 18 sank immediately after the collision at 2:25 am (1725 GM Tuesday), the Moji Coast Guard branch said in a statement. Six of its 21 crew members were missing, it said.
The 3,372-tonne freighter Heung-A Jupiter did not appear to have sustained major damage and all its 16 crew members were safe, a spokesman said. "There was no information on the ship taking water or leaking oil."
Its crew was reported to be South Koreans and Chinese.
Fifteen of the fishing boat's crew were rescued by other boats, but one of them died after he was airlifted to a hospital in Fukuoka, the main city on Kyushu. Two sustained broken bones, the statement said.
Seven coastguard patrols and three aircraft were searching the area.
The accident occurred some 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of Fukuoka. The area, located in the strait between Kyushu and the Korean peninsula, is rich in fishery resources.
The Koyo-Maru No. 18 was catching fish when the Heung-A Jupiter "collided into its central port side at a right angle," the statement said.
A crewman of the boat told the Japan Broadcasting Corp. network, "The freighter came crashing from the portside. We had sent all kinds of signal, blowing the whistle and blinking the lights before it hit us."
"We sank in a minute or two," he said.