3 dead as Japanese fishing boat collides with Russian ship

Three crew members were dead as a Japanese fishing boat capsized after colliding with a Russian ship off Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido on Wednesday, local media reported.

The five-crew-member Japanese fishing boat called Hokko Maru No. 8, which belongs to a fishery cooperative based in Hokkaido's Monbetsu, was catching hairy crabs when the collision occurred at around 6:00 a.m. local time, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

The 662-ton Russian vessel, named Amur, had 23 crew members. It was transporting seafood to Mombetsu from Sakhalin in Russia's Far East.

Among the three victims, one was Masayoshi Numahata, a 64-year-old chief engineer, and the other two were Shunsuke Konno, 39, and Masatoshi Inoue, 37, who were both deckhands, according to the coast guard and local rescue workers.

Of the remaining two crew members, one suffered minor injuries and the other was not injured, according to local fire fighters.

The five men were taken from the sea by the Amur, and then brought back by the coast guard to their home port, roughly 23 km away from where the accident took place, at around 10:00 a.m. Three men were then confirmed dead.

According to a local meteorological observatory, a dense fog advisory had been issued in the sea off Mombetsu port at the time.

The coast guard quoted the Hokko Maru crew as saying they were unable to move the boat before the collision occurred as they were catching crabs with ropes.


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