|Stella Daisy / Yonhap|
Stella Daisy, a 266,000-ton ore carrier owned by Polaris Shipping, was sailing in waters near Uruguay after departing Brazil on Mar. 26. But at about 11:20 p.m. Friday (Seoul time), the ship's crew members told their employer using Korean mobile text app KakaoTalk that their ship was sinking.
"It is emergency," the distress call said, according to Yonhap News Agency. "Water leakage at Port No.2. (The ship is) slanting fast toward the port side."
A ministry official said they "cannot rule out the possibility that the ship may have sunk" and whether the crew members survived has yet to be confirmed.
The ministry said it has notified Uruguay's coast guard of the accident through its diplomatic mission in the South American country.
A search for the sailors began involving commercial vessels near the site of the alleged accident.