SEOUL - A South Korean cargo vessel is missing after making its last contact in the South Atlantic about 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) from shore and 22 crew members are unaccounted for, South Korea's foreign ministry and news reports said on Sunday.
Two Filipino crew members have been rescued floating in a life raft on Saturday, but other lifeboats and rafts found in the area were empty, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
"A search operation is continuing for the 22 people," a South Korean foreign ministry official in Seoul said by telephone, adding eight of the missing are South Korean nationals and 14 are Filipinos.
South Korea has requested Brazil and Uruguay to aid in the search and rescue, the official said asking not to be identified.
The very large ore carrier (VLOC) Stellar Daisy owned and operated by South Korea's Polaris Shipping based in Busan was sailing from Brazil to China carrying iron ore when it sent a distress signal to the ship operator on Friday, Yonhap said.
A message last received on Friday by Polaris from a crew member said the ship was taking in water on the port side and was listing rapidly, Yonhap said.