14/01/2017 9:02 AM AEDT | Updated 16/01/2017 10:47 AM AEDT

Japanese Surfer Rescued After 16 Hours Lost At Sea Off NSW Coast

It's an amazing survival story.

A Japanese surfer has had a lucky escape after being swept out to sea.

A Japanese tourist has been rescued after spending a night clinging to a surfboard after being dragged six kilometres out to sea off the NSW coast.

The surfer was reportedly saved after crew on a 300-metre long container ship, the MSC Damla, spotted him in open water around 9am Friday.

The 37-year-old had been floating for 16 hours after a surfing session at Bulli Beach, NSW, the Illawarra Mercury newspaper reported.

The tourist, who had reportedly been surfing solo when he got swept out to sea, was pulled to safety by those on the cargo ship and taken to shore.

Port Kembla Water Police Sergeant Sean Netting told the Illawarra Mercury that the man was taking the ordeal in his stride.

"[MSC Damla] crew were able to lower the gangway he was able to paddle over and they basically just plucked him out of the water," he is quoted as saying.

"We couldn't believe it.

"He's out there on a surfboard, adrift, at nighttime.

"He was hanging onto the board - that was the only thing he had to keep him alive."