On May 26th, a Japanese fishing boat collided with a Russian vessel off Hokkaido prefecture, leaving three Japanese sailors dead.
The Japanese fishing boat ran into a 662-ton Russian ship and capsized.
The Hokko Maru No. 8 which belongs to a fishery cooperative based in Hokkaido’s Monbetsu, was catching hairy crabs at the time of the collision at around 6 a.m., according to the Japan Coast Guard.
In total there were 5 crewmembers, 3 died, one of the two crew members rescued alive was slightly injured.
The Russian vessel Amur, with 23 crew members, was transporting seafood to Monbetsu from Sakhalin in Russia’s Far East, the coast guard said.
A dense fog advisory had been issued in the sea off Monbetsu port at the time, according to a local meteorological observatory.
The coast guard quoted the Hokko Maru crew as saying they were unable to move the boat before the collision with the Russian vessel as they were catching crabs with ropes.
Indeed, the reason for the collision of the Russian merchant ship “Amur” with the Japanese fishing vessel “Dai-hachi Hokko-maru” could be a heavy fog, Consul General in Sapporo Sergei Marin said.
The Russians helped all five members of the Dai-hachi Hokko-maru crew out of the water, but three of them were already unconscious and could not be saved.
“The collision took place approximately at the contact line in heavy fog. They might not have noticed the small fishing schooner. But it shouldn’t have been there, because it’s too far from the shore,” Marin said.
According to him, the Russian captain acted according to instructions.
“The ship was immediately stopped, a rescue operation was carried out, everyone was lifted out of the water, but three were apparently unconscious from hypothermia. This was immediately reported to the security service at sea in Japan, but while they arrived, these three crew members died,” Marin said.
Now the Amur is sailing towards Monbetsu on its own, no one escorts it. There are no casualties on the Russian side.
As a representative of the Amurskoye company, which owns the ship, said it is too early to talk about the damage. He also confirmed that, according to preliminary data, none of the Russians were injured.
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