Tugboat searches for crewmembers who abandoned burning ship

HONOLULU — A tugboat is searching for crew members who weren’t rescued when the ship they were on caught fire while transporting automobiles from Japan to Hawaii.

The Sincerity Ace had 21 crewmembers on board when the fire started last week. The crewmembers abandoned the burning vessel, which stretches 650 feet.

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Ships in the area rescued 16. Four were listed as unresponsive in the water. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for one missing crewmember.

Japanese shipping company Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. owns the Panamanian-flagged vessel.

Company spokesman Darrell Wilson says tugboat crewmembers who arrived Monday are trying to find the remaining crewmembers before towing the ship.

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He says vessels in the area are asked to look out for bodies.

Wilson doesn’t know if the ship is still burning.

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