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Falling to his knees and placing his forehead on the floor, the president of the tour boat company operating the Kazu I, which disappeared Saturday in the Sea of Okhotsk with 26 people aboard, apologized Wednesday, saying that the ship’s captain made the decision to go ahead with the tour that morning.

“(Skipper Noriyuki) Toyoda said it was possible to depart at 10 a.m., although the weather might turn bad that afternoon,” Shiretoko Yuransen President Seiichi Katsurada told a packed news conference in the port town of Shari, on Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula, where the boat had left for a sightseeing tour of the natural World Heritage Site.

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