Sunken Tour Boat in Hokkaido Seen Flooded through Bow Hatch


Tokyo, Dec. 15 (Jiji Press)--The sinking of the Kazu I sightseeing tour boat off the coast of Hokkaido, northern Japan, in April apparently came after seawater flooded into the ship from its bow hatch and a broken glass window, the Japan Transport Safety Board said in an interim report Thursday.

The safety board will continue the investigation to determine possible structural problems with the Kazu I and whether the decision to allow the boat to depart was appropriate.

Twenty-six people were aboard the Kazu I when it sank off the Shiretoko Peninsula on April 23. The accident has left 20 people dead and the other six missing.

An inspection of the salvaged Kazu I found that the cover of its bow hatch was missing. The hatch is the most likely area where the seawater started coming into the boat, while the impact of other damaged areas was limited, the safety board said.

The hinges connecting the hatch cover with the opening had fracture marks, while two of the four clip fasteners that held the cover in place were worn, the safety board said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press