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2 dead after fishing boat collides wth naval vessel

24 Comments

Two men died after their fishing boat collided with a Japanese naval vessel in waters between two of the country's main islands, a report said Thursday.

Television footage showed the upturned hull of a small fishing boat in the Seto Inland Sea off Hiroshima after what the coast guard said was a collision at around 8 a.m. Wednesday with the 8,900-ton Osumi, a naval transport ship.

Jiji Press said the 67-year-old skipper and another man, 66, had been confirmed dead in hospital, while the other two had been rescued.

All four people aboard the fishing boat were pulled from the water after the collision.

A coast guard spokesman earlier said two of them were conscious, but the other two -- including the captain -- were in cardio-respiratory arrest. The term is usually used by first responders of people who have died but have not yet been certified by a doctor.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera expressed regret for the incident and pledged his ministry's full cooperation in the coast guard's investigation into its cause.

The 178-meter Osumi had recently been deployed to the Philippines, transporting aid supplies for victims of Typhoon Haiyan that struck in November.

The incident, which was receiving widespread media coverage, is a potentially sensitive one for the military and the government, with coastal communities frequently expressing exasperation at what they see as high-handedness by the navy.

A 2008 incident in which a father and a son died when their boat collided with a destroyer caused a widespread backlash, with local leaders pointing to the vast superiority of navigation equipment on the Aegis-equipped ship.

The defense ministry was accused of attempting a cover-up as it flew the vessel's duty officer to Tokyo for questioning before any official probe was opened.

Then-prime minister Yasuo Fukuda visited the victims' family in Chiba, east of Tokyo, and made a tearful apology amid growing calls for the resignation of his defense chief.

The government of current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quick to react to Wednesday's incident, announcing the setting-up of a task force.

"The coast guard has already launched the investigation into the cause," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. "I'd like to express my heartfelt sympathy towards those who have suffered the damage".

The Seto Inland Sea is a relatively busy waterway that serves a number of major ports, as well as supporting a vibrant fishery.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

24 Comments
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I'm going to guess that the fishing boat cut in front of the Osumi.

More difficult for a large vessel to stop, reduce speed, avoid (not just because of mass, but also depth has to be considered in narrow channels) or even see a smaller vessel cross in front of it's bow.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Until a full investigation of the cause of the accident is complete, news coverage and comments taking a position on either side should be avoided.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Out at Kannonzaki last weekend, between Yokosuka and Chiba, and saw around 10 fishing boats in the middle of the main channels for ships entering and exiting Tokyo Bay. Could not help thinking it is no wonder they get hit all the time; they did not respond to the bigger ships' horns, or make any effort to get out of the way.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@CrazyJoe

I agree, but I'm thinking an MSDF watch would be pretty vigilant, especially in the Inland Sea. Civilian craft - anybody's guess.

Feel sorry for the crew in any case.

A 2008 incident in which a father and a son died when their boat collided with a destroyer caused a widespread backlash, with local leaders pointing to the vast superiority of navigation equipment on the Aegis-equipped ship.

All the radar in the world will not help if you are ignorant of the laws of physics and navigation.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Horrible way to go... RIP to the victims

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

after their boat collided with a Japanese naval vessel

and

a father and a son died when their boat collided with a destroyer

Not much liking the semantics there. I doubt the fishing boats rammed the naval boats, then promptly sank.

Might be safer to say "a fishing boat and a navy ship collided". Does not lead us as to what happened.

I'm going to guess that the fishing boat cut in front of the Osumi.

I am not going to guess. Its also quite possible the fishing boat was just sitting there fishing, whether in a ship-ping lane or out.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

"I doubt the fishing boats rammed the naval boats, then promptly sank."

A serious yachtsman friend of mine was certain it was the fishers' fault, since it occurred late at night when they often sleep while out at sea. Also, the news reports focused on how the navy ship crew members were monitoring the fishing boat's lights but then lost track of it while it made a beeline into the hull of the much larger ship. Yep, the navy was to blame.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Funny car: For once we are in agreement. When I read the headline it made it sound as if the fishing boat rammed the vessel, but then you see all these 'heartfelt' apologies from people like Onedera and references to when the Aegis equipped ship killed two people in a similar incident and it makes it seem the wording is rather sinister. Granted, we don't know the cause, but as you said it's highly doubtful the fishing boat veered towards the Osumi, and far more likely the Osumi just wasn't paying enough attention and hit the boat. If anything the headline should reverse the fishing boat and naval boat parts.

ReformedBasher: "I agree, but I'm thinking an MSDF watch would be pretty vigilant, especially in the Inland Sea. Civilian craft - anybody's guess."

But there's proof that in the past they have NOT been vigilant, as with the example mentioned above. In any case, as all have said, without more details it's hard to comment on fault. The apologies, though...

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Damn, Oosumi is grandoise vessel which was a part of the JMSDF fleet that entered which waved the Japanese Naval Ensign for the first time after the WWII and conducted joint cross decking operations with US Navy just a month ago. No need to ask who's professional between the two. It happened around 8 AM with the clear weather. Those fishermen didn't even wear lifejackets! Oosumi used horns few times as well. The investigation will only show that it was fishboat crew's fault.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

But there's proof that in the past they have NOT been vigilant, as with the example mentioned above. In any case, as all have said, without more details it's hard to comment on fault. The apologies, though...

For the Atago incident, the courts in Japan have ruled that the SDF officers were innocent of criminal negligence, twice. (And before you say "Court backs up Government at the expense of the little people", most people would abscribe the Japanese Judiciary to be aligned to Japan's prosecutorial service. For them to defy the Prosecutors' will when they are determined enough to appeal when they lost the first round says something about the weakness of their case.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Kazuaki: "And before you say "Court backs up Government at the expense of the little people""

You were pretty quick to come out with that, no? Could it be because you know it is fact? The people in the Atago incident were not paying attention at all. It was indeed criminal negligence, they just dropped the word 'criminal', handed out money, apologized, and the PM cried.

We won't see Abe cry here, but already we're seeing the apologies to the families. Doubtless we'll hear about the cash handouts.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Doubtless we'll hear about the cash handouts.

Cash handouts for who?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What happened? The Japanese navy gotten jumpy with every vessel they see other than themselves on the water?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@JeffLee

The article says the collision happened at 8AM. Is this incorrect?

@Smith

Considering you live in Kansai, I'm going to assume you have a passing interest in the local geography.

Navigation in the Seto Island Sea requires constant vigilance due to the tides, channels and large number of craft at any given time. The larger the vessel, the more difficulty in navigation and I very much doubt that a vessel the size and value of the Osumi is conned by fools.

Your ignorance and determination to bash any aspect of Japan does any credibility your opinions may have a great disservice. A tragedy has occurred and you seem unable to refrain from using the incident as fuel for some half-assed political rant.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

ReformedBasher: "Navigation in the Seto Island Sea requires constant vigilance due to the tides, channels and large number of craft at any given time."

I'm well aware of that, thank you. Also well aware of what happens when you AREN'T vigilant. Do you know what happens when an accident occurs on the roads? say, a large truck hits a small car. Who ends up with the blame? Regardless of whether the fishing boat could not move in time or not, the naval ship bears the brunt of the blame for the incident -- and giving the Atago incident it's likely there was no one manning the lookout areas. The Atago has been blamed for the incident, but just no criminal charges were filed.

"The larger the vessel, the more difficulty in navigation and I very much doubt that a vessel the size and value of the Osumi is conned by fools."

We'll see if that latter is the case... or maybe we won't, new secrecy laws and all.

"Your ignorance and determination to bash any aspect of Japan..."

Bye-bye, credibility. Just the other day you were calling people 'prissy pseudo-intellectuals' and what not and now you suggest I am bashing things? Dude, I'm saying the fisherman may have been plowed into due to negligence! Get it? I'm defending them -- and if I'm not mistaken they are Japanese. So tell me again how that is bashing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The article says the collision happened at 8AM. Is this incorrect?"

I was referring to an earlier incident, the one in 2008, I recall.

Anyway, NHK just reported that the fishing boat ran into the midsection of the navy ship's hull. Yeah, the navy ship must of slid sideways into the bow of the smaller craft. Makes perfect sense....NOT!!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@smith

Like I said, you are using a tragedy as a tool to rant about some imagined political conspiracy as you invariably do. Shall we review your past comments and look for ones that not saying something negative about the country? They are few and far between. I bet if I whipped up a spreadsheet, the results would speak for themselves.

As for the "rush to apologise", what would you suggest? The MSDF does nothing?

Feel free to waffle on at your leisure.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The last thing I could say about JMSDF members is that they are poorly trained and incompetent. It takes years of studies and practice to make it to the bridge of a vessel like Oosumi. It takes few beers for a fisherman to go out on the sea and hit a vessel not even wearing a lifejacket which could haved their lifes. If a 10 meter fishing boat hits port side of 180 meters long towering 20 to 40 meters from the sea level on clear weather and calm sea and capsizes as it's even too small to take the horning vessel's wake there's no chance that was MSDF officers fault.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

http://www.47news.jp/CN/201401/CN2014011501001750.html

One of the surviving crewmembers of the fishing boat has stated that his boat was hit on its starboard side by the Osumi and tipped over to port, flooded, and overturned when the starboard side was lifted up by the collision. According to the Japan Coast Guard, based on their investigation so far, it is believed that both ships were on similar courses/headings. They have also confirmed that the fishing boat collided with the Osumi on her port quarter (aft of amidships). Obviously there's a lot of info still missing, but based on the above, it's clear that the two vessels were on similar headings in a relatively shallow crossing situation, meaning at some point their courses intersected with the risk of collision. Because the Osumi was on the right of the fishing boat, she was the stand-on vessel and the fishing boat was the give-way vessel because she had the Osumi on her starboard side. (Navigation Rule 15 - Crossing Situation: When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.) It's most probable that either the crew of the fishing boat weren't maintaining a proper watch that early in the morning or ignored the rules of the road and did not give way to the Osumi as required and sailed right into the side of the Osumi as she continued on her course and crossed in front of them, as required by navigation rules. It's also been reported that the Osumi had repeatedly blasted her ship's whistle, probably in an attempt to warn the fishing boat to give way when it became evident that they were not changing course or speed to avoid colliding with the Osumi. If I had to guess I'd say the dead 67 year-old fishing boat captain was asleep at the wheel and never even saw what he ran his boat into...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I have to agree with the above. Or rather, that was my first thought when I saw the damage location on the JMSDF vessel.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How 4 people on a 7 metre vessel which can turn on the 100 yen coin from which it was made, not only fail to notice a 180 metre vessel coming but then manage to steer into the middle of its side, is classic Darwin.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

At 7m loa might have been fiberglass rather than aluminum, but your point is very valid.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Smith, it is not uncommon in Japan to apologize or express regret on days like this even BEFORE you really know what happened. To wait that long marks you as insensitive.

As for the whole Atago business, the watch was undermanned, but only by Navy standards. They actually detected the fishing boat, but the watch officer assessed there was bearing rate and thus clearance. Under that circumstance he may assess there is no risk of collision and proceed. The fishing boat incorrectly assessed the situation and turned into the Atago.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Too much naval activities. Too much too fast. Money cost and now human cost.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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