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JAPANESE FREIGHTER COLLIDES WITH SHIP, SINKS

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A Japanese freighter collided with a Panamanian-registered container ship on Friday and sank off Japan's northeastern coast, the coast guard said. Two Japanese seamen were reported missing.

The Maritime Safety Agency in Miyagi state said six patrol boats were searching an area of the Pacific Ocean about 16 miles northeast of Sendai.An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the accident occurred at about 7:20 p.m. Friday when the 495-ton Japanese freighter Taiyo-maru with a crew of five collided with the 12,213-ton Conch. Dense fog was reported in the area at the time of the collision, he said.

The container ship rescued three of the five Japanese after their boat sank, the coast guard official said.

The Panamanian ship was sailing from Ofunato in Iwate state to the northern Chinese port of Dalian, while the Japanese freighter was traveling from Sendai, 190 miles northeast of Tokyo, to Tomakomai in the north.