• Kyodo

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A South Korean trawler fled from Japan’s exclusive economic zone Wednesday evening after colliding with a Japan Coast Guard patrol boat that was trying to board it, coast guard officials said.

The coast guard said Thursday that it has submitted a search warrant to South Korean maritime authorities for the trawler on suspicion of obstruction of justice.

Officials said the patrol boat found the trawler in Japan’s EEZ about 31 km northeast of Kamitsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture, at around 8:40 p.m. Wednesday.

When the patrol boat approached for an inspection, the South Korean ship allegedly tried to ram it and flee back to South Korean territorial waters, according to the officials.

The coast guard said it ordered the trawler to stop several times, and the patrol boat sustained a 70-cm-sq. hole in its port bow when it forcefully tried to stop the trawler.

The patrol vessel headed for Kamitsushima port while pumping out seawater that had flooded in. Its nine crew members were not injured and the vessel did not leak any oil, the coast guard said.

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