Too cold to swim… “Shiretoko sinking accident with 26 victims: “The inexperienced captain left the ship in the hands of the ship’s president, who was not at the office. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Too cold to swim… “Shiretoko sinking accident with 26 victims: “The inexperienced captain left the ship in the hands of the ship’s president, who was not at the office.

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President Katsurada avoids the press immediately after the accident (PHOTO: Kyodo News)

Once again, the sloppiness of the situation has come to light.

On September 7, the Transport Safety Board of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) released its final report on the sinking of the pleasure cruiser KAZU I (Kazu One) off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido in April 2010. All 26 passengers and crew members were affected (20 were killed and 6 are missing). The report describes the unbelievable negligence of Seiichi Katsurada, president of Shiretoko Sightseeing Boat, the ship’s operator, and others, as well as graphic details of the situation before and after the accident (quotes in parentheses below are from the report).

You can’t go today. You can’t go.

The employees of the same company told the captain, Mr. A, before the “Kazuwan” set sail. On the day of the accident, a strong wind and wave advisory was issued, and the maximum wave height was thought to be over 3 meters. Why did “Kazwan,” which can operate normally with wave heights of 1.5 m or less, leave the port? ……

[Mr. A] saw the calm morning seas and made the decision to sail out, keeping in mind the possibility of returning to port in the middle of the course.

[Mr. A] didn’t know the wind speed or wave height at the time he made his decision to sail.

However, the seemingly calm sea began to get rough in the afternoon, and “Kazwan” was engulfed by high waves. The report assessed Mr. A’s abilities as a ship’s captain as follows

He lacked the knowledge and experience to make the right decision to turn back at the right time.

He was unaware that the ship had established operational standards and was unaware of the wind speed and wave height that would be used as criteria for deciding whether or not to operate the ship.

The description of the president, Mr. Katsurada, is also eye-opening.

He had no knowledge or experience with vessels and was not capable of providing advice or other assistance to the captain.

He thought it was sufficient to leave the operation of the vessel to the captain’s judgment. He was not at the company office on the day of the accident.

The “Kazuwan” was hit by high waves, and seawater with a water temperature of less than 4 degrees Celsius entered the vessel. The following is a graphic audio recording of the 118 call to the 1st Regional Coast Guard Headquarters (Otaru City) from Kazuwan, requesting rescue assistance.

The battery is dead. The engine is dead.

“It’s flooded, we’re up to our feet in water, it’s too cold to swim. We can’t jump in.

About eight minutes after the first call came in, communications were cut off.

The report also stated that the hatch on the bow deck of the “Kazwan” was open due to age-related deterioration and inadequate inspections. It is believed that a large amount of seawater flowed in through the hatch and became a major factor in the sinking of the vessel. A person involved in the pleasure boat business who lives near the port of Utoro, Kazhuwan’s home port, said, “The hatch on the bow deck of Kazhuwan was open due to deterioration over time and inadequate inspection.

Even after the accident, President Katsurada walked around the town as if nothing had happened, and seemed to have little sense of ownership of the situation. He was entrusting the lives of his passengers to inexperienced crew members. It is unbelievable. The accident on the Kazhuwan was something that had to happen.

The tragic accident in which 26 people lost their lives was a “man-made disaster” caused by a combination of many unbelievable mistakes.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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