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(2nd LD) S. Korean cargo ship missing after distress call: ministry

All Headlines 18:06 April 01, 2017

(ATTN: CHANGES lead; UPDATES with additional information, remarks from a foreign ministry official in paras 2-7)

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean cargo ship with eight South Korean and 16 Filipino sailors went missing in the South Atlantic earlier this week after making a distress call, Seoul's foreign ministry said Saturday.

The Marshal Islands-flagged ship, Stella Daisy, was sailing in waters near Uruguay after departing Brazil on March 26, it said.

At about 11:20 p.m. Friday (Seoul time), the ship's crew members told their South Korean employer, Polaris Shipping, that their ship was sinking, using a mobile phone-based text application developed and used in South Korea.

The Stella Daisy is a 266,000-ton ore carrier, according to information posted on the Web site of Polaris Shipping.

"We cannot rule out the possibility that the ship may have sunk. Whether its crew members made it out safe cannot be confirmed at this time either," a ministry official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The ministry said it has notified Uruguay's coast guard of the situation through its diplomatic mission in the South American country.

A search is underway, also involving commercial vessels near the site of the alleged accident, it added.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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