Drifting N.Korean Fishermen Refuse Japanese Help

  • By Lee Ha-won

    January 14, 2019 12:40

    Japanese maritime authorities tried to rescue a North Korean fishing boat that was spotted adrift off their shores but the sailors turned down their help, the Japanese media reported Sunday.

    According to the Sankei Shimbun, a Japanese vessel found the wooden fishing boat adrift in waters 350 km north of Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture around 9 a.m. Saturday.

    The fishermen were waving a flag and shouting for help. But when the Japanese vessel approached, they said they did not want to be rescued by the Japanese. It was not clear why.

    Japan then notified North Korea and asked it to pick them up instead.

    Japanese rescue workers inspect a North Korean fishing boat on Jan. 9 in waters off Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture. /Kyodo-Yonhap

    Several North Korean boats have washed up on the Japanese coast recently. Some 207 drifted towards Japan last year, more than double the 104 in 2017, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

    Many come adrift because they try to fish too far out on the open sea despite the dilapidated state of their boats and faulty engines.

    Some fishermen have been found dead. Japan recently handed over to the North the bodies of 10 fishermen found in a drifting boat last December.

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