A South Korean tanker is seen capsized off Mutsure Island,...

A South Korean tanker is seen capsized off Mutsure Island, Yamaguchi prefecture, southwestern Japan Wednesday, March 20, 2024. The coast guard said it received a distress call from the Keoyoung Sun chemical tanker, saying that it was tilting and was taking refuge near the Island. Credit: AP

TOKYO — A South Korean chemical tanker capsized off an island in southwestern Japan on Wednesday, authorities said, killing eight people on board. One crew member survived, and the fate of two others was unknown.

Officials said the tanker was carrying 980 tons of acrylic acid, a corrosive organic compound that is used in adhesives, paints and polishes. No leak has been detected, and officials are studying what environmental protection measures may be needed in case there is a leak.

The Japan Coast Guard said it received a distress call from the chemical tanker Keoyoung Sun, saying that it was tilting while seeking refuge from the weather near Japan’s Mutsure Island, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from Tokyo in southwestern Japan.

The ship was completely capsized by the time rescuers arrived at the scene. Footage on Japan's NHK television showed the ship lying upside down, a rough sea washing over its red underside.

The ship was carrying 11 crew, of whom nine have been found, authorities said. The one crew member confirmed alive is from Indonesia, and the coast guard was still searching for two more.

South Korean officials held a meeting Wednesday to discuss the capsizing. During the meeting, Vice Foreign Minister Kang Insun asked officials to mobilize all available resources to support rescue works and assist the relatives of South Korean crew members, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The ship was en route from the Japanese port of Himeji to Ulsan in South Korea, the coast guard said. Its captain was South Korean, and its crew included another South Korean national, a Chinese national and eight Indonesians, according to the coast guard.

A South Korean tanker is seen capsized off Mutsure Island,...

A South Korean tanker is seen capsized off Mutsure Island, Yamaguchi prefecture, southwestern Japan Wednesday, March 20, 2024. The coast guard said it received a distress call from the Keoyoung Sun chemical tanker, saying that it was tilting and was taking refuge near the Island. Credit: AP

Acrylic acid is also used in plastics, resin and coatings, and can irritate the skin, eyes and mucous membranes, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

No other details, including how the ship capsized, were immediately known.

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