A Japanese fishing boat lies capsized off Hokkaido's Mombetsu after colliding with a Russian vessel on Wednesday. Photo: KYODO

3 dead after Japanese fishing boat collides with Russian ship


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.


©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Wow. Bad news for everyone.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

It looks like that boat was hit, flipped and run over whilst upside down.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

With all that technology available, why aren’t low distance warners or automated maneuvering avoiders installed and compulsory for all ships , especially in more outside international maritime and fishing zones? Playing around with helicopters on Mars but not able to avoid ship collisions in the most spacious areas like oceans….unbelievably crazy.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

If the fishing boat was displaying the proper lights while fishing, the burden to avoid the collision was with the Russian ship. Large ships usually have one or two personnel on the bridge, the autopilot is steering the boat and the personnel who are supposed to be on lookout are playing games on their phone. It has become standard practice on ships both large and small to rely on radar proximity warnings to warn of danger, but a small boat of less than 50 tons is very hard to detect and track. Add in early morning light and fog and you end up in the drink with your boat upside down or in Davy Jones Locker.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Must be a really dense fog, even the boat crew saw the ship too late

6 ( +6 / -0 )

“We were catching Crabs, so we didn’t want to move”…oh well.

What could happen ?

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

RIP fisherman. Death is immenent and its the very reason they make a LOT of money when the bank in. I always wanted to be a fishsherman in Japan. Sorry to hear the tragedy and hope your family will and friend will recover during COVID-19.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am reminded of a story I was told by someone who was on merchant ships during World War II.

They did not have radar, and ran without lights at night to be less detectable by submarines. While running in fishing waters, it was not unusual for them to find pieces of small boats stuck to their bow in the morning. It was tragic, but there was nothing they could do. I don't know if the fishing boats had lights or not, but apparently they didn't. They were not aware of having collided with the wooden fishing boats. Today most ships have radar, but at that time merchant ships were not equipped with it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sad but it doesn’t seem like Anyone was to blame. At least the Russians retrieved the bodies and returned them. Mother Nature is unforgiving.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

We were catching Crabs, so we didn’t want to move”…oh well.

You do know how much one “hairy crab” costs?

sad for the families and villages. They rely on the short season to support them for the rest of the year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Despite the headline it looks and sounds more like it was the Russian ship which collided with the Japanese fishing boat.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

GaijinjlandToday  07:01 pm JST

Sad but it doesn’t seem like Anyone was to blame. At least the Russians retrieved the bodies and returned them. Mother Nature is unforgiving.

Any "blame" will be determined by the JCG investigation and marine insurance adjusters.

The Russian vessel, as are all vessels, was bound by Maritime Law to retreive the survivors.

"The 1982 UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA (UNCLOS) provides that ‘Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew or the passengers: (a) to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost; (b) to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress, if informed of their need of assistance, in so far as such action may reasonably be expected of him."


1 ( +2 / -1 )

Totally avoidable and should never happen....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The question is was the fishing vessel taking a chance in a designated shipping lane? Or was the Russian vessel aware of its responsibilities in making local fishing vessels were actively aware of its presence in heavy fog?

US Navy ships have collided with maritime vessels in the past decade, so either the technology is falling short and/or human error is the cause.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

this is so sad...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

WA4TKGMay 26  06:09 pm JST

“We were catching Crabs, so we didn’t want to move”…oh well.

Why did you put that in quotes? Who said it? A rather nasty sneering remark which you seem to have made up just for fun when people have lost their lives.

From the article: The coast guard quoted the Hokko Maru crew as saying they were unable to move the boat before the collision with the Russian vessel as they were catching crabs with ropes.

"unable". Look it up.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sakhalin in Russia's Far East.

That's the problem right there. Russia shouldn't even be here in the first place. Pushed too far, expanded too much.

In the 1990s when USSR collapse, dozens of countries in Europe and Central Asia became independent or got land back from Russia.

In East Asia we got nothing back. No land, no islands. 0 progress. We waited on Putin when it's too late. When we have no chance anymore and we being deceived in believing otherwise.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

We were catching Crabs, so we didn’t want to move”…oh well.

What could happen ?

No. This is a common situation all over the world. With fishing gear in the water the vessel cannot move. Under international maritime law a fishing vessel in this situation is considered to be a "vessel restricted in the ability to maneuver" and as such has the right of way. Other vessels are required to avoid them. In day time the fishing vessel would fly a ball-diamond-ball pendant from its yardarm. At night the fishing vessel will display three round lights in a vertical line, red-white-red. From experience in the Gulf of Cadiz, radar often does not pick up such small fishing boats and they are tough to see on even a clear night using binoculars. In places like the North Arabian Sea it almost seems as if one could hopscotch across the fishing boats so numerous and close together they lay.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It is sad there were deaths but being stationary at sea in dense fog is not being smart...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I'm sorry to hear of this loss. I frequently worked, or, almost lived at Mombetsu Lucky and Posful supermarkets. Fishermen were some of my best customers. I can only pray for fortitude to the families and the good people of Mombetsu.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@wa4tkg “We were catching Crabs, so we didn’t want to move”…oh well

The acident happened in fog, may be the Russian ship didnt see the small fishing boat due to restricted visibility, also the Japanese fishermen didnt have time to move, either, or both boats, might have had only a few minutes either to reverse, manover away, or even pick up there fishing gear, and move, to avoid the collisition. I am sure they would have moved if they could, in this case I thinks its we didnt have time to move.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

being stationary at sea in dense fog is not being smart...

This is not an area in which I have any knowledge or not. But this being JT, it's hard to tell if someone who speaks with confidence actually has any more knowledge than I do; is it really not smart to be stationary when at sea in dense fog? What is the recommended course of action instead? And are you making that comment as someone with the qualifications and knowledge to be accurate, or baseless speculation as an internet poster? Honest question.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yes, I’ve had experience at sea primarily with yachts.

There are channels marked on charts and delineated by buoys which should be kept clear.

Stopping in such channels in dense fog would be a danger.Now, without knowing the ‘exact position’ the fishing boat was in makes it difficult to say which boat was right or wrong.

The general rule that the smaller vessel gives way to the larger (case here)

However, there are other rules too.

(I studied these and would assume similar in Japan)


NB.8 (i)

and 18(iv)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don’t see how this isn’t the Russian vessels fault. The fishing boat was presumably moving at a slow speed. A merchant ship can surely see a 50 ton ship with its navigation radar.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

There's fault, which will be placed on the Russian ship for the collision, but there's also intent and bad luck. Seriously doubt the Russian crew was trying to hit anyone and if the fog was as dense as reported, perhaps the Russians should have slowed and the Japanese boat should have stronger lights?

Bad luck and difficult weather seem to be the main causes.

OTOH, Japan could say that the Russians chased down the boat, trying to run it over. But that wouldn't be honest. No deflection or lies, coming from Japan and it seems not from the Russians either. Civilized adults solve issues this way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are we living in an age before invention of a radar???

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Large ships usually have one or two personnel on the bridge, the autopilot is steering the boat and the personnel who are supposed to be on lookout are playing games on their phone.

This is an excerpt from a post I did earlier in this thread. I got down voted for the post. Not it matters, but there are a lot of experts on JT that don't bother to read the article just go straight to the comments and apply their expertise. I have a 1600 ton Upon The Oceans Masters License with a 50 ton sailing endorsement, which I have held for almost 40 years. I have a Japanese Class One boat operator license. I currently own a 45 foot, 17 ton sail boat that I regularly sail in Japanese waters both costal and off shore. From my time on the bridge of big ships, I know what goes on there. From my time sailing in a small boat here in Japan, I can tell you that lookout procedures have not improved. Just ask the crew of the ACX Crystal that was hit by the USS Fitzgerald. I have hailed large ships countless times repeatedly to ask if they saw my boat or what their intentions were with no answer. The COLREGS state a vessel over 300g tons and all passenger vessels must keep a radio and radar watch. Crab fishing is done with large cages (pots) that are bated with fish parts and placed on the bottom of the fishing area. The location of these pots are marked by a buoy which is attached to the pot by a rope. After period of time, about a day or so the pots are hauled up, emptied, rebaited and dropped again. A point to note here is, when you have a net/pot/line hauling operation in progress, you can't just start the engine and motor away. You would have a fouled propeller before you traveled your own waterline. Contrary to one of the experts here on JT, the Russian boat was actually a cargo boat delivering goods to a nearby port and a interloping fishing boat as suggested. Just relying on the articles information, the Russian boat was at fault in failing to give way to a fishing vessel. Whether the fishing vessel had proper lights and was sounding a fog horn, is something to be discovered in the investigation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For now, I pin most of the blame on the Japanese vessel. Yes, the rules say a boat fishing has priority, but that assumes it's actually possible for the other vessel to detect your tiny boat. If the weather is that foggy, they should have been thinking of other things than crabbing - they should have their eyes glued on the navigation radar which is much more likely to display a 662 ton vessel than something weighing about 50 tons.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


and NOT an interloping fishing boat 

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the weather is that foggy, they should have been thinking of other things than crabbing -

They probably were, the boat payment, fuel costs, the rent, food for the family, how to not get zapped by Covid. Commercial fishing is the #2 most dangerous job, second only to loggers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maritime Law and Part B Rule 4-9 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (72 COLREGS) state

a) A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:

(i) a vessel not under command;

(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver;

(iii) a vessel engaged in fishing;

d) The term "vessel engaged in fishing" means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls, or other fishing apparatus which restrict maneuverability,

The Russian ship was defiantly a power boat.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites