The South Korean coast guard launched rescue operations April 4 after a Mongolian-flagged cargo ship with 16 North Korean crew members sank off the southern coast of South Korea.
At least two crew members died, three have been rescued and a search for the 11 crew members still missing is ongoing, the South Korean Unification Ministry said on Friday.
"Our coast guard has sent patrol ships and aircraft and rescued three crew [members] and found two bodies. We will continue to find missing people," said the South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do, citing the South Korean coast guard.
"The damaged ship is a Mongolian-flagged cargo ship and sixteen people were on board, and all were North Koreans," Kim added.
The ship was sailing from the Chongjin region on North Korea's east coast and was headed for a Chinese port carrying iron ore, a South Korean coast guard official said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media.