Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

North Korean boat sinks after hitting Japanese vessel

North Korea fishing boat in collision with Japan patrol vessel North Korea fishing boat sinks after colliding with Japan patrol vessel
Deanna Wagner | 09 October, 2019, 08:32

A Fisheries Agency patrol vessel collided with a North Korean ship in a prime fishing area in the Sea of Japan on October 7, throwing the intruding vessel's crew overboard.

The coastguard had earlier said about 20 crewmen were adrift following the incident, which happened 350 km (217 miles) northwest of Noto peninsula in central Japan.

He said, "Patrol vessels of both Japan's fisheries agency and Coast Guard have been participating in the crackdown and lookout activities". They said they were still doing the math and making sure nobody was missing.

The fisheries agency has been stepping up its efforts in recent years to crack down on illegal squid fishing in the area.

The North Korean ship sank around 9:30 a.m., tossing tens of crew members into the sea.

An official of the Japanese Fisheries Agency speaks to media following a collision between its patrol boat and a North Korean fishing boat, in Tokyo Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

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The collision took place near a rich fishing ground known as the Yamato Shallows.

According to TBS, a Japanese television news broadcaster, Monday's collision also occurred in an area within the exclusive economic zone. It said Japan previous year made 5,315 such orders to foreign fishing boats in the area, many of them North Korean. No one was injured on the Japanese ship, NHK said. It said the North Korean crewmembers had no life-threatening conditions.

Experts say the increase in North Korean squid poaching is due to the country's campaign to boost fish harvests. Japan also said an armed North Korean fishing boat "threatened" a Japanese patrol ship in August.

In June, Japan's coast guard pushed more than 300 North Korean boats back in the same waters where Monday's incident occurred.

A Japanese official said the North Korean boat was fishing illegally in Japan's exclusive economic zone.