NAHA — A Chinese fishing boat sank shortly after colliding with a Greek cargo ship on the high seas near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea early Thursday, the Japan Coast Guard said, following increased activities in recent days by Chinese ships in waters close to the Japan-controlled, China-claimed territory.
A coast guard patrol ship rescued six crew members of the fishing boat and searched for the other missing following its collision with the freighter Anangel Courage about 65 kilometers off Uotsuri Island, the largest in the Senkaku group of islets, just past 5 a.m., it said.
The 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters received a distress signal from the 106,727-ton freighter and sent a patrol boat and a plane to the site.
The Japanese coast guard unit, based in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, has been on high alert since it detected increased operations by Chinese government vessels and fishing boats in waters around the Senkakus on Aug. 5.
Some 200-300 Chinese fishing boats were spotted sailing in the so-called contiguous zone just outside territorial waters, with some entering Japanese waters, prompting Tokyo to lodge repeated protests with Beijing.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry said it contacted the Chinese government about Thursday’s incident and the Chinese side expressed appreciation for the rescue operation.—KYODO