All five seafarers onboard a capsized Japanese cargo ship have been rescued.

The 1,600-dwt general cargo vessel Meisen 2 (built 1996) got into difficulty off the coast of Chiba prefecture on 14 May, the Japan Coast Guard said.

The Meisen 2 was 13.5km (8.3 miles) from Minamiboso when it went aground.

The cause of the accident is unknown, but footage shot from an aircraft and posted to YouTube by Japanese media showed the ship lying on the seabed metres from a rocky shore in a gentle swell.

An accident report was made to authorities in the early hours of Saturday.

The crew said containers had collapsed on deck and the vessel had listed 15 degrees.

According to the coast guard, all five Japanese crew members were thrown overboard.

They were trying to get into a lifeboat, the coast guard said.

A search team rescued the men about six hours later.

Three of the seafarers were aged in their 60s and 70s and suffered injuries during their ordeal.

No hull damage reported

The coastal vessel has no reported damage to its hull, and no pollution was observed in the area.

A salvage team moved into the area on Sunday to begin a refloating operation.

The Meisen 2 was heading from Ibaraki to Oita prefecture.

The cargo ship is owned by Futaba Kaiun of Osaka, Japan.

The Equasis database lists no port-state-control inspections on its record.