Hokkaido Company Head OK'd Boat Departure before Accident

Society

Shari, Hokkaido, April 27 (Jiji Press)--The head of sightseeing tour boat operator Shiretoko Yuransen said Wednesday that he decided the departure of the ship that went missing off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido on Saturday.

At a press conference in the town of Shari on the peninsula, a popular tourist destination in the northernmost prefecture, the company's head, Seiichi Katsurada, expressed his apologies to the victims of the accident and their family members.

"We're very sorry for putting burdens (on you)," he said. His company operated the Kazu I tour boat, which is believed to have sunk.

Katsurada said he talked with the captain of the boat before its departure and decided to carry out the tour on condition that the ship returned to the port if the sea became rough.

It was the first time for Katsurada to explain the accident in public since the boat carrying 26 people including crew members disappeared on Saturday. Eleven of them have so far been found and confirmed dead.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press