Inco Ltd., the western world's biggest nickel producer
, said a ship carrying 2,200 tons of nickel in matte from its Indonesian unit PT Inco, worth an estimated $13 million, sank off Japan
at the weekend. Inco said the load was insured and represented about 3.3 percent of PT Inco's annual production, which was 130 million pounds in 2000.
At least eight of the 14 crew members, including the captain of the Panama-registered White Koowa, drowned when the ship sank on Sunday off Kochi, about 540 km (335 miles) southwest of Tokyo, the Japanese coast guard said. It is not yet known why the ship went down.
"It is not immediately clear whether the lost nickel is recoverable," Inco said in a statement in Toronto. - (Reuters)