The Ibaraki Prefectural Government on Friday called on the Foreign Ministry to negotiate with Pyongyang over the removal of a North Korean freighter that ran aground near Hitachi port in December.

A group that included Ibaraki Vice Gov. Yoshio Kakuta called on Senior Vice Foreign Minister Tetsuro Yano to relay its request to remove the 3,144-ton Chil Song. The prefectural government also wants Pyongyang to pay compensation for damage caused by a suspension of fishery activities in the wake of the accident.

“We would like the national government to handle the case,” Kakuta said.

Yano responded by saying the ministry will try to negotiate through formal routes with the North Korean Embassy in Beijing.

On Tuesday, the Local Marine Accidents Inquiry Commissioner’s Office in Yokohama filed papers with the Local Marine Accidents Inquiry Agency, also in Yokohama, asking it to begin a formal inquiry into the accident.

The office said it will demand that Kim Jae Fu, the Chil Song’s 55-year-old captain, appear before inquiry officials.

According to Tuesday’s complaint, Kim had the ship anchor for quarantine at the eastern side of Hitachi port on Dec. 4. It said that due to bad weather and high sea swells, anchors on both sides of the vessel should have been used. Only one was used, however, because the other was not functioning.

The ship consequently drifted and ran aground at a breakwater some 1.4 km from Hitachi port, where it began leaking fuel.

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