AOMORI (TR) – Japan Coast Guard officials believe an unmanned wooden boat found washed ashore in the town of Fukaura on Wednesday possibly originated from North Korea, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 30).
At around 6:45 a.m., an officer from the Aomori Coast Guard Office working off a tip from a local resident found the vessel — measuring about 15 meters in length — on a beach about 2 kilometers north of Kurosaki Harbor.
Aboard the ship was fishing tackle, water and clothes. Based on writing on the craft, officials believe it originated from North Korea.
Fishing boats launched from North Korea wash ashore in Japan in the period of November through February. After their engines become disabled, water currents and winds push them to the coasts of the northern part of the nation.
The vessel found on Wednesday is the first for this season in Aomori. A witness reported seeing it drifting off shore on Tuesday.
According to the coast guard, 49 suspected North Korean fishing boats drifted ashore along the coasts of Aomori last year. The figure was the second-largest for all of Japan.
To monitor the situation, a special 10-person unit will be in operation throughout the winter starting on November 4. The unit will be tasked with locating drifting boats and working with local police.