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Child's body found after tour boat sinks; probe of operator launched

48 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Midday NHK news today, they are reporting the discovery of possibly the hull on the sea floor not far from the famous waterfall.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

EastmanApr. 25  08:16 am JST

tragedy.

Very sad. And could've been avoided.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of the eleven they have found so far, only five were wearing lifejackets... :-(

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The June accident involved the same captain of the sunken boat. The June case has been pending at local prosecutors for further criminal investigation, the Coast Guard said.

Where’s ‘Safety Country’ when you need it? Once more we see this reluctance to bite the bullet when people here screw up. While suspended sentences and case by case, soft pedalling may do wonders for Japan’s incarceration statistics vis a vis countries that take such transgressions more seriously, the downside is that real people sometimes pay for the myth with their lives.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Tragic!!..may their souls find peace

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kyo,most boat in the US are required to have transponder,so they can be tracked,,these people probably drowned immediately or died from hypothermia

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As Kutan says they are now reporting more of the captain’s message, that the engine had failed. The captain reported water ingress from the bow, then a list of 30 degrees. Then silence.

Apparently the management had recently fired all of their seasoned captains and subsequently hired anyone with a valid license.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This was like all things in life PROFIT over LIVES its the business model of life

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You'd think that at the first sign of water ingress the captain would have pointed her towards the rocky shore at least... (?)

Apparently the engine failed. Not sure in which sequence things happened, but all I can say is that I took that tour in July 2019 (on their “Kazu III” boat) and when returning we were very far away from the shore.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

it’s everyone’s fault from the tour operator, crew member, to the authorities and the biggest fault lies with the people who decided to take the tour despite being fully aware of the harsh weather conditions 

Possibly one of the most disgusting comments I have read on this site. You should be ashamed, though I doubt shame is something you know.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Like there are bad transport companies with reckless drivers, it might be the same for some maritime tour operators.

The probe will certainly reveal illegalities. Unfortunately, too late for the passengers

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MariinJapn....

If fishers’ boats, which whole crew are used to work in harsh conditions are coming back to port, there is no reason a leisure boat transporting people not used to the sea should still be at sea..

Probably, as not tour means no ticket sales and no money. Should the people with a financial outcome be making the safety decision? Or the port authority?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The rescue operation took too long to respond in my opinion. 3 hours for the rescue boats to arrive is just not good enough. The coastguard should have notify the jsdf and ask them to send their helicopters to aid quickly in such a situation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

VoiceofOkinawa: A great posting! I was not completely certain that I fully understood that news item when it was announced earlier today; however you have encapsulated it perfectly! My understanding is the boat captain involved was from Nagasaki Pref, and had been previously employed as the driver of an amphibious (commonly referred to as 'duck boat') watercraft...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The captain of the tour boat, Kazu 1, once posted a piece on Facebook, saying the company he now worked for was a "black company", a Japanese-made English expression meaning a surprise industry that employs young people in hordes and use them like disposables, where over work, illegal labor condition and power harassment are common.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"...and the biggest fault lies with the people who decided to take the tour despite being fully aware of the harsh weather conditions which were forecast..."

I disagree. The passengers may not have been aware of the weather forecast; but why should they have to depend on the weather? They have trustingly paid the ticket fare, rightfully expecting the tour operator to care for their safety. On the company website, the tour operator advertises their tours as being safe, when in actual fact, safety was the very last concern...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Just saw footage of parallel lines of fishing boats combing the waters offshore. Let's hope they find the hull ASAP, and that by some miracle somebody made it safely to shore.

You'd think that at the first sign of water ingress the captain would have pointed her towards the rocky shore at least... (?)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Perhaps if the survival vests were outfitted with tracking devices in the future locating lost people from a boating disaster would be easier.

However....!

As far as iam concerned each passenger should have had a survival suit with an emergency training drill before they even got on the boat.

I question if the life raft could hold 26 people or withstand the weather conditions.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If the operator place undue work schedules pressure yes he will face man slaughter charges but the captain is solely responsible for his crew and passengers life and safety Decisions about ships operation actions like going to sea is the captains not the operator or business owners.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For us older types... we all know that a "3 hour tour" can lead to any number of unexpected outcomes...

RIP and prayers to the surviving families.

S

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If the captain was instructed to sail, then we will never know because he is dead and the people who instructed him won't admit it (unless an email trail is found).

On the news, another tour boat operator said he told the captain not to sail as it was too rough, but the captain just said "yes" and carried on.

Personally, it's hard to believe an experienced captain, seeing the weather, and knowing much tougher fishing boats had returned because of the conditions, would put his/passengers lives at risk unless he felt pressured some how.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The operator must be charged with criminal negligence. If the professional fisherman wouldn’t go out he should not have gone out either. He deliberately endangered people’s lives just to make a buck.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

People, the passengers, need to understand how dangerous the sea is, especially if you can’t swim. I once almost drowned when a boat I was in sank in the middle of winter. After that, I respect the sea.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Yes yes it’s everyone’s fault from the tour operator, crew member, to the authorities and the biggest fault lies with the people who decided to take the tour despite being fully aware of the harsh weather conditions which were forecast ( even watching the fishing boats return to port yet they didn’t want to cancel their sightseeing cruise )… actions have consequences and they paid the price with their life!

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

¥8800 was charged per passenger; if the money was paid up front, then the tour operator would have wanted to complete the tour rather than offer refunds...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

There should be some kind of regulations as to whether boats can leave port under the given weather condition. Currently, that decision is left to the captain and the tour company that employs him. But the company's primary concern is always a balance sheet and so they may disregard someone's advice not to operate because of the day’s rough sea condition.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

"Everyone was wearing lifejackets."... half of them weren't. Trotting out some official line and the truth are two different things.

"The boat is listing 30 degrees" was all they said. Actually it now turns out the captain said a lot more, like "we are taking on water and sinking..."

What the tour operator said originally, and what they are saying now are two different stories. Moving goalposts comes to mind.

And that foot-long 'crack on the bow' this article is reporting, was allegedly not fixed over the winter, according to some of the port people interviewed on TV.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

I’m surprised anyone would even want to take the trip under those conditions. A three hour ride in choppy seas isn’t fun, even if there is a nice view.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

We are talking 26 people possibly dead and Japan news doesn't treat this as the day's main story which I find weird. This morning's news had Macron's reelection as bigger news than this.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

triggering questions why it was allowed to sail.

because it’s a Japanese company.

money is always first.

Safety is somewhere at the end, between it being logical and having purpose.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

The operator, Shiretoko Pleasure Cruise, had been instructed to take steps to improve its safety following earlier accidents in which it ran aground in June without causing injuries, and another in May, when three passengers suffered minor injuries when the boat collided with an object.

If the operator was allowed to keep working the boat after these accidents it would indicate they were not something that happened only exceptionally, I wonder how many of the operators of the area have similar records? Maybe this being the first accident with casualties has been more about luck than proper safety standards.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Terrible tragedy.

The operator, Shiretoko Pleasure Cruise, had been instructed to take steps to improve its safety following earlier accidents in which it ran aground in June without causing injuries, and another in May, when three passengers suffered minor injuries when the boat collided with an obje

2 accidents in 2 month - no fine or temp suspension just an "instruction to improve safety".

The coast guard said the operator told them that everyone on the boat was wearing a life vest, but some of the victims found were without them.

Not enough life vests either by the sound of it...poor victims.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

A completely avoidable tragedy! The take home from this story is always assess the weather conditions for yourself and the environment you are going to be in before “trusting” the tour operator who, let’s face it, are there to make money. Asks questions about safety measures before you jump on board and if they are not answered with enthusiasm don’t go! The pandemic and drop in tourism has caused companies dependant on such revenue to cut corners and take risks. I am pretty sure pressure from above, wether communicated or implied, meant cancelling their first trip of the season may not have been an option in the minds of the crew and resulted in this tragedy. Terribly terribly sad indeed especially in light of the two children and one or both parents who must have been on board. I simply cannot imagine their utter distress.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Two accidents last year? Why were they able to continue to operate? Their operating and business license should have been suspended after the second one. Smell like an oversight and enforcement issue too.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

GREED is what caused this accident, other operators warned the crew NOT to start the tour but greed $$$ overruled.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Only two crew.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

tragedy.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

If fishers’ boats, which whole crew are used to work in harsh conditions are coming back to port, there is no reason a leisure boat transporting people not used to the sea should still be at sea..

I wonder if the crew took this decision or if the higher up in the company are the pushy kind

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Let's make this a mandatory safety requirement.

https://www.force4.co.uk/department/safety/epirbs-plbs-ais-units

5 ( +7 / -2 )

planned to request safety checks

would have thought that an 'urge' would have been more appropriate than a 'request'.... LOL

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Saturday’s tour was reportedly the first by the operator this season

and likely the last for that operator.

31 ( +31 / -0 )

he instructed officials “to do everything they can for the rescue.”

What a fearless leader.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

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