Shiretoku Tour Boat President’s Amateur Sea Experience Resulted to Tour Boat Accident | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shiretoku Tour Boat President’s Amateur Sea Experience Resulted to Tour Boat Accident

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
President Katsurada got down on his knees three times during the apology press conference (Image: Kyodo News)

Three times during the two-and-a-half-hour press conference, he got down on his knees.

The “KAZU1” (12 meters long, 19 tons), a tourist boat with 26 passengers and crew on board, went missing off the coast of Shiretoko, Hokkaido. On April 27, four days after the accident, Seiichi Katsurada, 58, president of the operator, Shiretoko Sightseeing Boat, finally held a press conference to apologize. However, he went on to explain that “it was not stormy in the morning,” and other such statements that cast doubt on his ability to judge the state of the sea. The content of the press conference revealed a lack of safety awareness.

The president’s “getting down on his knees” also appeared to be a performance. The president is an amateur in the sea. I don’t think he really understands the cause of the accident or what went wrong.

Mr. A, a resident living near Utoro Port, the home port of Kazuwan, who knows Mr. Katsurada, said,  What kind of person is President Katsurada, whom his acquaintance describes as an “amateur in the sea?”


Mr. A continues, “I went to high school in Abashiri, which is about 60 km away from my hometown of Shari. After graduation, I went to a vocational training school in Ibaraki Prefecture to learn pottery-making techniques. I came back to Shari-machi after I turned 40, I think. I was helping my parents run a guest house and hotel.

The Captain of the Ship was a “Black Market” Businessman.

In April 2003, Mr. Katsurada succeeded his parents. He became president of Shoritokomura, which operates the “National Guest House Katsurada” and other hotels. It was the following year that he acquired Shiretoko Sightseeing Boat.

The previous president had become old, so he put the company up for sale. President Katsurada came forward. He bought the entire office and the ship for tens of millions of yen.

Immediately after that, however, internal strife broke out at Shiretoko Pleasure Boat.

President Katsurada is a professional in the inn business, but he is an amateur when it comes to the sea. He put business first. He would tell them, “Just send out the boats!” to make a profit, even when the sea was rough. All of the skilled crew members who opposed them quit. They had no choice but to hire inexperienced staff back at a lower wage.

Captain Tokuyuki Toyoda, 54, of Kazu 1, the ship that caused the accident, was also questioned about his abilities. He joined Shiretoko Yusen about two years ago. Before that, he had worked for an organization called the Japan Amphibious Vehicle Association, but he had no experience piloting a ship in the often rough seas off Shiretoko.

Normally, it takes three years for a person to become skilled enough to pilot a ship. But President Katsurada said that Mr. Toyoda “has good sense” and made him a captain in about one year. Moreover, he put him in charge of two ships by himself. Mr. Toyoda, who was said to have been serious and taciturn, must have been troubled by the fact that he could not refuse the request. On his Facebook page, he posted the following I’m stuck left and right in a black company.

Shortly after setting sail in June of last year, Captain Toyoda ran aground on a shoal. In January of this year, he was charged of professional negligence and endangering pedestrians. Mr. A, who testified at the beginning of this report, said.

At the apology press conference, President Katsurada said that “the final responsibility was mine, but the captain made the decision to take the ship out.” I get the impression that he is placing the blame on Mr. Toyoda. It is customary for small sightseeing boats to go into service during the Golden Week holidays, but the Shiretoko excursion boat was moved up nearly a week, probably because profit was prioritized. I believe that President Katsurada’s disregard for the weather and for safety resulted in this catastrophe.

At a briefing for the bereaved families, President Katsurada spoke ambiguously, saying, “It was my negligence, including the fact that I did not know (the cause of the accident). It can be said that the accident was caused by a “dangerous history” that had led him to this point without sufficient knowledge about the sea. Participants asked, “Give us a satisfactory explanation! What do you think about the people who died? “

  • Photo Kyodo News

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles