THE Japanese coastguard said Friday it had discovered a dozen bodies inside a Chinese fishing boat that capsized after a collision with a Hong Kong oil tanker off Japan's western coast the previous day.
"Our divers found all the bodies of the missing 12 crew members inside the ship," a Coastguard official said.
Thursday's collision occurred 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.
The Chinese vessel, the 290-ton "Lurong Yuanyu 378", had 16 crew members in total. Four have already been rescued.
The Hong Kong-flagged ship was identified as "Brightoil Lucky", a 63,294-ton tanker carrying 21 crew members.
The tanker's crew were believed to be safe.
Japan had deployed three patrol boats to search for the missing crew, after responding to a plea for help from their Chinese counterparts. (Agence France Presse)