Japan rescues all North Korean fishermen after collision with patrol boat

A Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel approaches a North Korean fishing boat to warn them to leave the waters near Yamatotai

Dozens of North Korean fishermen have been rescued after their vessel collided with a Japanese patrol boat on Monday, Japan's Jiji Press reported, citing the Japanese coast guard.

This photo released by the 9th Regional Japan Coast Guard Headquarters shows a Japanese Fisheries Agency patrol vessel at the site of its collision with a North Korean fishing boat, off the northwestern coast of the Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa prefecture, on October 7, 2019.

The collision took place 217 miles northwest of Noto peninsula within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

An official with Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) told the Asahi Shimbun on Monday afternoon that the collision occurred due to a "sudden turn" made by the North Korean vessel, and that rescue efforts were ongoing. They said they were still doing the math and making sure nobody was missing.

The two ships collided in the Sea of Japan at around 9 a.m., about 350 kilometers off the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture.


In August, a North Korea-flagged speed boat was identified and warned in the area close to Yamato Ridge, where a "number of illegal fishing incidents" involving North Korean and Chinese boats have been reported, according to the Mainichi.

Japan's Coast Guard officials say around 60 sailors were thrown into the sea after the boat sank.

The Fisheries Agency patrol boats send warnings to such boats through water cannons or electronic signs, according to Kuwahara. This year, ships from Japan's Fisheries Agency and coast guard have been patrolling in the area since May, Kuwahara said. No one was injured on the Japanese ship, NHK said.

Japan's coast guard in June pushed more than 300 North Korean boats back from the same waters.

Boats have also washed up on Japanese shores with the crew on board dead - referred to as "ghost ships" by local media.

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