AOMORI (TR) – Two male crew members of a fishing boat possibly from North Korea were rescued on Sunday after the wooden vessel was spotted drifting off the coast of the town of Fukaura, the Japan Coast Guard said, reports Fuji News Network (Jan. 14).
At around 7:20 a.m., a boat from a fishing cooperative tipped off the coast guard about finding the craft drifting about 1.5 kilometers from shore.
Coast guard staff members then boarded the vessel and found the two men. The men claimed that they departed North Korea as a crew of five last month.
The sailors said the boat began drifting after an engine problem last month. The other three sailors had been tossed overboard by rough seas. They also expressed a desire to return to North Korea.
According to the Japan Coast Guard, more than 200 suspected North Korean vessels washed ashore on the coasts of Japan in 2018. The year before, the figure was 104.