A Hong Kong freighter and a Chinese fishing boat collided in the high seas off southern Japan, leaving three crew members dead and 13 others missing, the Japanese coast guard said Saturday.

The vessels collided Friday about 217 miles west of the southern island of Kyushu, Japan Coast Guard spokesman Yasuhiro Yamaguchi said.

Japanese officials did not know the cause of the accident or the extent of damage to the vessels, Yamaguchi said.

Kyodo News agency said the fishing boat sank shortly after the collision and two of its crew were rescued.

No other details, including the number of crew members and nationalities, were immediately known, he said.

The Japanese coast guard dispatched a patrol aircraft and a vessel to the site and asked China for information about the two ships and crews, he said.