• Kyodo

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The captain of a North Korean freighter was given an administrative penalty in absentia Wednesday after his vessel ran aground last year off the port of Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture.

A court of the Yokohama Marine Accident Inquiry Agency ordered Kim Jae Fu, 56, captain of the 3,144-ton freighter Chil Song, to take remedial safety measures in connection to the incident, which it said he had caused by a failure to properly anchor the vessel.

Hitoshi Kuroda, head of the court, censured Kim for failing to prevent oil leakage and said it is regrettable the captain left Japan after causing much fear and anxiety to residents living nearby.

The agency had called on Kim to appear before the session but he was not present, which is not mandatory.

The agency is affiliated with the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry.

According to the ruling, Kim anchored the ship on the eastern side of Hitachi on the night of Dec. 4 but only used one anchor even though there were strong winds and high waves. The freighter subsequently broke free and ran aground.

The grounded ship broke in two in March, causing fuel to spill out.

Ibaraki Prefecture has said it spent about 650 million yen on dismantling the ship and recovering leaked oil. It has yet to contact the ship’s owner to claim reimbursement.

The Chil Song left Kinuura port in Aichi Prefecture on Nov. 28 with tire chips intended for use as fuel in North Korea, and arrived in Hitachi port Dec. 4.

Later that month, the Mito Summary Court imposed a 300,000 yen fine on Kim, who subsequently left Japan.

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