Maritime collision off Japan kills three

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Three crew members of a Japanese crab fishing vessel have died after a collision with a Russian freighter in the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Japan's Hokkaido island, officials say.

The Japanese vessel overturned following the collision.

The Russian cargo ship rescued all five crew members, but three were confirmed dead after arriving at the port of Mombetsu, Japan's government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said.

Japanese broadcaster NHK identified the Japanese vessel as the 9.7-tonne Daihachi Hokko Maru, based in Mombetsu, and the freighter as the 662-tonne AMUR, registered in Nevelsk in Russia's Sakhalin island.

The two vessels collided around 6am about 20km north of Mombetsu.

The AMUR had departed Sakhalin on Tuesday and was carrying crabs to the Japanese port.