The ship is sinking” and “Thank you for everything you’ve done” were the heartbreaking words of a passenger…Shiretoko excursion boat president: “Surprised now.
The ship is sinking. Thank you for everything.
[Claire] I’m soaked up to my feet. It’s too cold to swim. I can’t even jump in.
On December 15, the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) released a progress report on the sinking of the cruise ship “KAZU 1” off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido, which claimed the lives of 26 people. The sea water temperature on the day of the sinking was about 2°C. This would give an idea of the devastation on board.
Just before the ship sank, the captain exclaimed over the radio to his colleagues, “The ship is flooded.
The ship is flooded and the engines have stopped. The front end of the ship is sinking. Rescue me!
According to the report, the cause of the sinking was a hatch about 50 cm square at the front of the “Kazwan. It is believed that the lid was open, allowing seawater to enter, and flooding began.
On the day of the accident, the Abashiri Meteorological Observatory issued a strong wind and wave advisory, predicting maximum wind speeds of 15 meters and wave heights of 3 meters or more. The deck of Kazhuwan was 96 cm above the surface of the water, so water could have easily entered the vessel. The hatch lid must have been opened by the shaking caused by the high waves. The captain was in a blind spot from the wheelhouse and could not see when the hatch lid opened.
This is really upsetting.
While other cruise boats were cancelled due to rough weather, the Kazuwan was forced to continue its operation. In June, the operator, Shiretoko Sightseeing Boat (Utoro, Shari-cho), had its business license revoked by the Hokkaido Transport Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. When a reporter for Friday Digital visited the office in the summer, the shutters were closed and there was no sign of anyone. The office was in ruins, with garbage left on the side of the building. A female employee who runs a restaurant nearby said, “The sign was taken down before the summer.
It seems that the signboard was taken down and the office moved out before the summer. However, the president (Seiichi Katsurada, 59) has not made a formal apology to us locals after the accident. （It is really upsetting to me that he has caused so much damage to the city.
At the time, President Katsurada was confined to his home and was rarely seen in town. Now, however, the situation seems different. Mr. A, a former employee of Shiretoko Sightseeing Boat, says, “He is walking around town like a normal person.
He is walking around the city. I see them shopping at convenience stores. He used to avoid being seen, but now he talks to the president. He doesn’t seem to have much remorse, which is surprising to us. We also hear that he often drinks at his favorite tavern.
The 1st Regional Coast Guard Headquarters (Otaru City) plans to file a case against President Katsurada next spring on charges of manslaughter in connection with his decision to leave the vessel in bad weather and the hatch malfunction.
Photo: Jiji Press, Inc.： Jiji Press