• Kyodo

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A Russian crew member was arrested Monday over the deaths of three men aboard a Japanese fishing boat that capsized after colliding with a ship he was in charge of near Hokkaido in late May, the local coast guard’s office has said.

Pavel Dobrianskii, 38, was in charge of the 662-ton Russian ship Amur on May 26 at the time of the collision with the Hokko Maru No. 8 crewed by five, according to the Monbetsu Coast Guard Office.

The crew aboard the 9.7-ton Japanese boat, which belonged to a fishery cooperative based in Monbetsu, were catching hairy crabs when the collision occurred at around 6 a.m.

The Russian vessel, with 23 crew members aboard, was transporting seafood to Monbetsu from Sakhalin in the Russian Far East.

Dobrianskii, third officer, was arrested on charges of professional negligence resulting in death as well as endangering traffic due to negligence for allegedly failing to avoid the collision when sailing the Russian vessel through the Sea of Okhotsk off Monbetsu.

The local coast guard did not reveal whether the suspect had admitted to the charges.

The three dead were Masayoshi Numahata, a 64-year-old chief engineer, Shunsuke Konno, 39, and Masatoshi Inoue, 37, both deckhands.

The Hokko Maru crew was quoted by the coast guard as saying they were unable to maneuver the boat away as they were catching crabs by rope and the Russian ship collided with their vessel.

Russian officials have said in a statement that the Japanese vessel did not send a signal amid low visibility due to fog. A dense fog advisory had been issued for the waters off Monbetsu port at the time.

The Asahikawa District Court seized the Russian ship as collateral for compensation on June 2, following the request of representatives for the Hokko Maru.

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