Friday, October 24, 2008

Ship, Trawler Collide; Three Fishermen Killed

A 9,813-ton cargo ship collided with a 14.7-ton fishing boat off Okinawa early Thursday, claiming the lives of three of the smaller boat's six crew members, the Japan Coast Guard said. The collision of the freighter Shuri and the fishing boat Kohei Maru took place 1.8 km off Minnajima Island, throwing all the fishing boat's crew overboard as it was cut in half. A coast guard patrol boat and nearby fishing boat rescued the six crew members about two hours after the crash, but three were pronounced dead at a hospital in Nago, on the main island of Okinawa. According to the coast guard, the victims were identified as Shinko Miyagi, 57, Kenichi Tomori, 48, and Katsuhiro Kaneshi, 52.
Collision aftermath: The bow section of the fishing boat Kohei Maru (indicated by arrow) floats overturned after the vessel was involved in a collision Thursday morning with the freighter Shuri. The photo was taken at 6:30 a.m. after the accident.
Masakazu Miyagi, a 41-year-old official from a local fisheries' cooperative, said: "I'm surprised. The captain is an expert with over 20 years of experience. I don't know the details of the situation, so I cannot say much." Based on the boat's condition, the coast guard determined the Shuri's bow struck the side of the Kohei Maru. The coast guard said the weather was fine with clear visibility at the time of the accident. The Shuri, run by Tokyo-based Kinkai Yusen Logistics Co. Ltd, was on the way from Osaka to Naha transporting containers of daily necessities. Yoshitaka Kikuchi, chairman of the company's Okinawa office, visited the fisheries cooperative at 11 a.m. and apologized for the accident.

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