A Chinese fishing vessel caught fire in heavy seas off the south China coast, and at least five crewmen died and 31 were missing, an official report said Wednesday.

One survivor was picked up by a passing oil tanker two hours after abandoning the ship, which caught fire Saturday about 44 miles southeast of the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province, the China News Service reported.According to an account from the survivor, Cai Fuyin, a fire broke out at the back of Minxia Yu 0173 and within 20 minutes spread to the bridge, forcing the 37-member crew to abandon ship.