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Capsized tankship was carrying acrylic acid, says JCG

Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) officials said that South Korean chemical/oil products tanker Keoyoung Sun (IMO 9146942) was carrying 980 tons of acrylic acid when it capsized off southwestern Japan’s Honshu main island, about 620 miles from Tokyo, but that no leaks had yet been reported.

Officials were studying what environmental protection measures might be needed in case there was a leak. Acrylic acid is used in the manufacture of plastics, paint formulations, and other products. It is a strong irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes in humans. However, it is fully miscible in water.

There were eight definite fatalities, with one more of the crew in hospital with a non-life-threatening condition. Two others remain missing, with an SAR ongoing.

The Keoyoung Sun was travelling from Himeji to Ulsan with 11 crew members – eight Indonesians, two South Koreans, one of whom was the captain, and one Chinese – on board.

The ship had dropped anchor off Mutsure island because of the stormy weather, but eventually it turned over. The wreck was found drifting bottom up in the sea. There was a raft nearby.

At 00:06 local time on March 20th the vessel applied to the Moji Coast Guard for emergency anchoring to wait until the weather improved. It moored off the coast of Mutsurejima at around 02:05. Five hours later it issued a distress call to the Japanese Coast Guard and requested assistance, reporting that the vessel was tilting over. The Moji Coast Guard dispatched patrol boats and two helicopters to the scene, and confirmed that the chemical tanker had capsized.

By 17:00 nine crew members have been recovered, all wearing live jackets. Seven of them were dead.

1996-built, South Korea-flagged, 870 gt Keoyoung Sun is owned and managed by Keoyoung Shipping Co of Busan, South Korea. As of March 19th the vessel was underway off Hirohata. It is entered with Korea P&I Club on behalf of Keo Young Shipping Co Ltd.