North Korean trawler sinks following collision with Japanese patrol boat; 60 rescued

Photo: Japan Coast Guard

Officials in Tokyo have confirmed the successful rescue of 60 people who had ended up in the water after a Japanese patrol vessel and a North Korean fishing boat collided off Ishikawa prefecture on Monday, October 7.

The incident between the Japan Fisheries Agency vessel Okuni and the unnamed North Korean trawler occurred at around 09:07 local time in Yamato-tai, an area some 350 kilometres northwest of the Noto Peninsula.

The trawler collided with Okuni after it made a sharp turn in an apparent attempt to avoid being apprehended. The impact had left the North Korean vessel severely damaged that it sank less than half an hour later.

A total of 60 North Korean fishermen were reportedly thrown into the water as a result of the collision and were later picked up by responding Japan Coast Guard vessels.

The survivors have since been handed over by Japanese officials to the North Korean government in accordance with an international treaty between the two countries.

Coast guard officials are still working to determine whether any of the North Korean trawler’s crew are still missing.

Yamato-tai, which is within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claimed by Japan, has been frequented for years by North Korean vessels due to the abundance of squid, crab, and plankton in the area.

The Japan Coast Guard claims that North Korean fishing boats have made more than 10,000 illegal incursions in the area since 2017.

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