Search and rescue efforts are under way to find 22 crew members, including eight South Koreans, of a cargo ship that went missing in the South Atlantic last week, after two Filipino sailors were safely picked up in a life raft, the Seoul government said Sunday.
The search for the Stellar Daisy, used by a South Korean shipping firm, began Saturday, one day after the ship's crew sent a text to their South Korean employer, saying their ship was sinking.
The Marshall Islands-flagged ship departed Rio de Janeiro on March 26 and was sailing near Uruguay when it made the distress call, according to the foreign ministry here. Sixteen Filipinos and eight South Koreans were on the ship.
Seoul's embassy in Brazil had asked for assistance to find the missing crew with the Brazilian Air Force dispatching a C-130 plane to the site.
The escape raft carrying the two Filipino crew was found drifting by commercial ships in the area. Two more rafts and two powered lifeboats that can carry up to 30 people each were also discovered, but no one was on board.
Stellar Daisy has two lifeboats and five rafts, four of which launch automatically.
Authorities said that all crew members are believed to be wearing life vests.
"From what we know so far, we assume that the situation on Stella Daisy may have been so urgent that crew members couldn't even launch the lifeboats," a government official said.
"The ship may have went under shortly after the distress call," he added.