Coast guard search and rescue teams were searching for 23 missing Chinese sailors aboard a Panamanian-registered cargo ship that sank off eastern China on Thursday, state press reported.
The New Hangzhou sank off the coast of Zhejiang province early on Thursday morning while carrying 9,000 tonnes of cargo from China's northern port of Tianjin to Vietnam, Xinhua news agency said.
Crew members aboard the ship reported the vessel was sinking via mobile phone, the report said. Subsequent attempts by authorities to contact the crew went unanswered.
China's eastern coastline has been the scene of several mishaps this year, with up to 20 fishermen reported missing after their boats sank during the last week of February alone.