At least 15 crew members are missing as a Panama-flagged cargo ship capsized in rough seas off Vietnam, local media reported on Friday.

The ship carrying clay Malaysia to Hong Kong sank off the coast of Vietnam’s central Binh Thuan province on Thursday, according to state-run daily Vietnam Times.

A search operation is underway to find the 15 missing sailors — 11 Chinese nationals and four Vietnamese.

According to initial information, the captain contacted authorities on Phu Quy island about a problem with the ship and sought permission to dock.

However, the vessel was some 1.5 nautical miles from Phu Quy port when it tilted hard and sank, the report said.

* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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