BEIJING — Three senior Chinese naval technicians drowned earlier this week while securing a research ship during a storm, state media reported.

State broadcaster CCTV said the three were attached to the No. 760 Institute in the northeastern port of Dalian where much of China's most advanced naval design and development work is done.

Website haijun.360.com said the institute used the ship, the 2,300-ton Beidiao993, to experiment with sonar and underwater acoustics.

The institute under state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation employs civilian and military personnel.

CCTV said the three and others had rushed to the dock to prepare for the typhoon that hit China last weekend. It said the drowning victims were Huang Qun, the institute's deputy director, project leader Song Yuecai, and electromechanical engineer Jiang Kaibin.

High waves that had loosened the ship's cables threw them into the sea and attempts to revive them failed. A moment of silence was held for them by leaders of the corporation on Tuesday.

China's navy and coast guard are building ships at a blinding pace, challenging U.S. naval dominance in Asia with the deployment of aircraft carriers and advanced submarines.