China ships
A boy looks at cargo ships passing along the Pearl River in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Aug. 6, 2014. Reuters/Alex Lee

Japanese coast guard officers were searching for nine missing people after a Chinese ship reportedly sank off Japan late on Tuesday, Associated Press reported. Japanese officials reportedly sent patrol ships to assist in the search effort.

The Chinese ship Lurongyu 2859 reportedly sank 242 miles off Shimane Prefecture in southwestern Japan and rescuers had saved five people from the ship while nine others were still missing, Xinhua reported.

The Chinese coastguard requested help from Japan, which sent a patrol boat to the spot where the vessel sank, according to the report. The Chinese consulate in Osaka also confirmed the sinking of the ship off Japanese waters.

The nationality of the people on the ship was unknown, and it was not clear if the missing people were crew or passengers on the ship.