A Panamanian cargo ship sank early Saturday during a storm in the East China Sea near Taiwan, and 17 Filipino crew members were missing and feared dead, coast guard officials said. A Japanese tanker rescued three of the 20 crew members from the La Vie en Rose, a 4,415-ton vessel loaded with Malaysian timber, said a coast guard official in Okinawa.

A coast guard plane was dispatched to the scene of the accident at dawn Saturday but found no traces of the missing crew. A patrol boat also was due at the scene later Saturday.