Three Japanese fishermen dead following collision with Russian vessel off Hokkaido

Taiko Maru No 17, later renamed Amur, in 2015 (Photo: Tonic)

Japanese authorities have confirmed that a collision between a local fishing boat and a Russian-flagged vessel off Hokkaido resulted in the deaths of three crewmen on the former vessel.

The incident occurred at around 06:00 local time on Wednesday, May 26, as the nine-tonne crab boat Hokko Maru No 8 was struck by the 662-tonne fish transporter Amur (pictured) at a point 15 nautical miles off northern Hokkaido.

The crab boat capsized as a result of the impact, and all five fishermen on board were thrown into the sea. Amur‘s crew then pulled the Japanese fishermen out of the water and onto their own vessel.

Due to the severity of their injuries, three of the rescued fishermen later died. These included the 64-year-old chief engineer and two deckhands, aged 39 and 37, respectively.

The two survivors and the three deceased fishermen were later turned over to the Japan Coast Guard, which then brought them ashore at Hokkaido.

The survivors said they had sighted Amur as it was approaching their position. However, they were unable to manoeuvre out of the way in time to avoid the oncoming vessel as they were then engaged in crab catching.

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