A Chinese cargo ship has collided with a South Korean freighter near South Korea's port of Incheon, leaving at least three Chinese crew members dead and nine missing.

South Korean coast guard officials say the collision took place before Monday a few kilometers west of Incheon. They say the Chinese vessel Xinhai Seven sank after it slammed into a larger South Korean ship called the Korea Gas.

Five Chinese crew members were rescued by a nearby vessel. South Korean authorities are searching by boat and helicopter for the nine missing Chinese.

There were no serious injuries to the crew of the South Korean ship, which was slightly damaged.