A South Korean trawler has sunk near the coast of Russia, resulting in the confirmed death of one South Korean crew member, while at least 52 other passengers have been reported missing.

The 1,753-ton Oriong-501 became stranded in the Bering Sea, near the Chukotka peninsula, Russian media reported.

"When the fish were being hauled in, the vessel was hit by a wave," Artur Rets, the head of the maritime rescue service in Russia's far eastern port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, told news agency Reuters.

There were 60 people on board, seven of whom - including one Russian inspector - have so far been rescued. The survivors include people from Indonesia, Philippines and South Korea.

The other passengers comprised 11 South Koreans, 35 Indonesians and 13 from the Philippines.

Prior reports stated that the passengers numbered 62.

It is believed that the trawler, which was built 40 years ago, made no distress signal before it sank. The fishing vessel was operated by the South Korean fisheries firm Sajo Industries.

The sinking occurred months after a South Korean ferry capsized, killing more than 300 people.