• Kyodo

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A Japanese fishing boat collided with a 662-ton Russian ship and capsized off Hokkaido on Wednesday, leaving three crew members dead, local authorities said.

The Hokko Maru No. 8 — with five crew members on board — which belongs to a fishery cooperative based in Hokkaido’s Monbetsu, was catching hairy crabs at the time of the collision at around 6 a.m., according to the Japan Coast Guard. One of the two crew members rescued alive was slightly injured.

The three who died were Masayoshi Numahata, a 64-year-old chief engineer, and Shunsuke Konno, 39, and Masatoshi Inoue, 37, who were both deckhands, according to the coast guard and local rescue workers.

The Russian vessel Amur, with 23 crew members, was transporting seafood to Monbetsu from Sakhalin in Russia’s Far East, the coast guard said.

The five men, three of them showing no vital signs, were taken from the sea by the Amur and then brought back by the coast guard to their home port, roughly 23 kilometers away from the accident site, at around 10 a.m.

A dense fog advisory had been issued in the sea off Monbetsu port at the time, according to a local meteorological observatory.

The coast guard quoted the Hokko Maru crew as saying they were unable to move the boat before the collision with the Russian vessel as they were catching crabs with ropes.

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