Sunken Japanese Tour Boat Lifted to Sea Surface


Shari, Hokkaido, May 26 (Jiji Press)--A tour boat that fell on to the seafloor Tuesday while being towed for salvage following its fatal sinking last month off the Shiretoko Peninsula in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido was successfully lifted to the sea surface on Thursday afternoon.

This is the first time that the Kazu I boat has been lifted to the sea surface since the accident on April 23, which has left 14 of the 26 people aboard dead and the 12 others missing.

The Japan Coast Guard's regional headquarters in Hokkaido and a company commissioned by the JCG are working for the second attempt to salvage the ship. After being towed to shallow waters off Utoro Port in the town of Shari on the peninsula, the boat is slated to be loaded onto a work barge early Friday morning.

The barge is expected to arrive at Abashiri Port in the Hokkaido city of Abashiri as early as Friday. After the Kazu I is landed, the 1st Regional Coast Guard Headquarters and others will start to fully investigate the ship to determine the cause of its sinking.

The Kazu I, which was operated by Shari-based Shiretoko Yuransen, was on the seabed at a depth of 120 meters at the time of the first salvage attempt. The sunken ship dropped to the bottom of the sea again, at a depth of some 180 meters at a point 11 kilometers west of Utoro Port, during Tuesday's operation to salvage it as two of the five nylon slings tied to the boat snapped apparently due to friction.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press