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Taiwan cargo ship hits Japan fishing boats; 1 dead, 1 missing

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Taiwanese cargo ship collided with two Japanese fishing vessels in waters off western Japan's Osaka Bay yesterday, leaving one Japanese crew member dead and another missing, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said.

The incident occurred at around 6 a.m. local time when the two fishing boats crashed into the Taiwanese cargo ship, MOFA spokesman Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said.

No Taiwanese were injured in the incident but four crew members on the two Japanese vessels were knocked overboard when the collision overturned their boats, Hsia said.

Three of them were taken to a nearby hospital by rescuers. One of them was later pronounced dead, he added.

Taiwan's representative in Osaka is working with local authorities to determine the cause of the collisions.

Meanwhile, Wan Hai Lines Ltd. (萬海航運), Taiwan's third-largest container shipping company by fleet size, yesterday confirmed that the cargo ship is registered under the company.

Wan Hai vice president and spokesman Davis Kao (高國隆) told local media that the ship, named Te Chun (德春), is a small-sized cargo vessel with a carrying capacity of 1,088 20-foot equivalent units.

According to Japan's public broadcaster Nippon Hoso Kyokai, the collisions occurred in the sea about 5 kilometers off an artificial island where Kansai International Airport is located.

The rescue teams were still searching for the missing crew member, the report said.

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