Tokyo, Jan 12 (IANS) The Japanese Coast Guard on Thursday rescued 26 North Koreans unhurt from a sinking cargo ship off Japan’s southern coast.

The Coast Guard received a distress call from the ship on Wednesday night when it was some 60 km southwest of Goto islands in Nagasaki province, Efe news reported.

When the Coast Guard reached the ship around 3.30 a.m., the sailors had already abandoned the ship and were in lifeboats.

The ship sank at 5:45 a.m. when it was around 27 km southeast of Fukue island.

The Coast Guard also released a series of images showing the ship going under.

In 2015, at least 14 badly-damaged and overturned boats with almost two dozen bodies were found off Japanese coasts and authorities said they could be North Korean fishing boats that went adrift.