Chemical tanker, cargo ship crash near southwestern Japan

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese chemical tanker ship crashed into a cargo ship off the coast of southwestern Japan, the coast guard said Saturday.

No one was injured among the six Japanese crew members aboard the tanker Ryoshinmaru and 14 Chinese crew members aboard the Belize-registered cargo ship Xin Hai 99.

The crash early Saturday was under investigation and both ships were anchored in the area, about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) off the coast of Wakayama prefecture, according to a Kushimoto Coast Guard official.

Some oil leaked from the engine area of the cargo ship, which initially started to sink, but it was brought under control, the official said.

The tanker had left Kobe port to pick up chemicals from another Japanese port and did not have any chemicals on board at the time of the accident.

Divers were sent to the scene and GPS records pursued to determine the cause of the accident. The Chinese crew told the coast guard the tanker had suddenly veered toward them, the official said.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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