Three Japanese men dead after collision with Russian trawler

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May 26 (UPI) — Three Japanese fishermen are dead after their vessel collided with a Russian trawler in the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Hokkaido, according to multiple press reports.

The Japanese crab vessel was in an area about 14 miles from Mombetsu, the nearest port, when it crashed into the 660-ton trawler AMUR, at about 6 a.m. The Russian vessel was registered in Nevelsk in Russia’s Sakhalin Island, Tass News and RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

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NHK reported the Japanese boat was identified as the 9.7-ton Daihachi Hokko Maru, based in Mombetsu.

Crew members of the Russian ship rescued five crew members following the accident. Three Japanese nationals, Masayoshi Numabata, 64, Masatoshi Inoue, 37, Shunsuke Konno, 39, had died by the time the boat reached Mombetsu, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Sergei Marin, the consul general of Russia in Sapporo, said bad weather might have been the cause of the collision.

“A Russian fishing boat appears to have been involved in a crash due to the inability to see a small Japanese fishing boat under heavy fog,” the Russian diplomat said Wednesday.

Marin also said the Russians reported no injuries after the collision, and suggested the Japanese boat had strayed too far from the Japanese coast, according to reports.

Japanese fishing boats have also been involved in other recent collisions at sea.

Kyodo News reported May 7 a 6.6-ton Japanese fishing boat crashed into a 695-ton South Korean cargo vessel in an area west of Shimonoseki City.

The collision resulted in a light bruise on the head for the captain of the Japanese boat, the only person on board. The Korean cargo ship, Taelim Jasmine, was carrying 10 crew members, the report said.