South Korean Tanker Capsizes, Killing Eight

capsized tanker
Korean tanker capsized in a storm off western Japan (Moji Coast Guard photos)

Published Mar 20, 2024 12:49 PM by The Maritime Executive


A South Korean-registered chemical tanker was lost off Japan during a storm today. The Japan Coast Guard is reporting that one person was rescued and the bodies of eight other crewmembers were recovered but those individuals were pronounced deceased at a local hospital. Two other crewmembers were missing after an all-day search of the area.

The Moji Coast Guard station in western Japan reported that it received a distress call early on Wednesday morning from the crew of the tanker Keoyoung Sun (1,168 dwt) that the vessel was listing in a storm. They were requesting urgent assistance. It was anchored approximately five miles north-northwest of Mutsure Island in southwestern Japan off Honshu.

By the time the Coast Guard helicopters and patrol boats reached the scene the vessel had capsized. The Coast Guard also requested the assistance of the Navy and local fishing boats as well as other commercial vessels in the area to aid in the search. Images show one of the vessel’s inflatable life rafts floating near the overturned hull and divers and helicopters in the area.



The tanker which was built in 1996 shuttled between South Korea and Japan. It had arrived in Japan on March 14 and departed Aboshi on March 18. Reports are that it was bound for Busan, but decided to anchor because of high seas, winds, and a storm warning. 

Reports of the weather conditions in the area at the time of the casualty vary ranging from winds at 35 mph, gusting to 78 mph, and waves between 7 feet and up to 11 feet.

The vessel was 226 feet (69 meters) in length with the Coast Guard reporting the crew consisted of eight Indonesians, two South Koreans, and one Chinese national. The survivor is reported to be in non-life-threatening condition but was not identified in the reports. The Japan Coast Guard reported that all the crewmembers were wearing life jackets when they were found.

The vessel was loaded with 980 tons of acrylic acid. The Coast Guard reports so far that there are no leaks from the tanker. The ship is owned by Keoyoung Shipping, acquired in 2005.