Second angler in MSDF collision dies

Kyodo

An angler on a sport fishing boat that sank following a collision Wednesday with a Maritime Self-Defense Force transport vessel off Hiroshima Prefecture died early Thursday, the second fatality of the accident.

Koji Otake, 66, was one of three anglers aboard the boat Tobiuo, skippered by Kiyoshi Takamori, 67, who died Wednesday morning.

The Japan Coast Guard raised the fishing boat Thursday and is investigating the accident on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in death.

One of the two survivors, Shoji Teraoka, 67, told the Coast Guard that after the boat passed the Osumi on the MSDF vessel’s starboard side, the ship turned right to avoid a crossing freighter, increased speed, and then turned left, hitting and capsizing the fishing boat.

The coast guard found marks believed to be from the collision on the MSDF vessel’s port side.

The only witnesses to the collision were aboard either vessel.

The collision between the 180-meter Osumi and the 7.6-meter fishing boat occurred at around 8 a.m. Wednesday in the Seto Inland Sea off the city of Otake.

The four men on the fishing boat were thrown into the water and rescued by the Osumi and another vessel passing nearby. The two survivors were not injured.

The sea was calm and the weather fair at the time of the accident, according to the authorities.

However, contrary to Teraoka’s account, a Defense Ministry official said the Osumi was moving in roughly the same direction as the leisure boat and slowed down to make way for it when the accident occurred.

The leisure boat left a berthing facility in the city of Hiroshima around 7:10 a.m. on Wednesday and was on its way to Kabuto Island. The 8,900-ton Osumi was on its way to a shipyard in Okayama Prefecture for a regular inspection after leaving the Kure base in Hiroshima Prefecture at around 6:30 a.m.

The MSDF vessel, with 135 crew members, is equipped with medical facilities, and was dispatched to the Philippines last November following a devastating typhoon.