Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Korean Ghost Ships

The identities of the corpses found aboard a capsized fishing boat off the Japan sea coast last month will be forever shrouded in mystery. The remains have been cremated, the ashes unclaimed. Soon the rickety wooden vessel that took its occupants to their deaths will be destroyed too.

Their 12m (40ft) boat now rests on a wharf in the city of Fukui, its bow encrusted with shells and algae, the ripped traces of what appears to be a sail trailing from its stern. For weeks – possibly months – it drifted south through the perilous stretch of water separating Japan from the Korean peninsula, before being spotted by fishermen approximately 60 miles (100km) off the coast.
Inside, coastguard officials made a grim discovery: the skeletons and badly decomposed bodies of seven people dressed in clothes that bore labels written in Korean Hangul script. Alongside them was squid-fishing equipment and empty plastic bottles and cigarette packets.
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(CNN)—Four bodies have been found inside a capsized boat discovered floating off the north coast of Japan's main Honshu island -- the latest of the so-called "ghost ships" washing up in Japanese waters in recent weeks.

The vessel, a 12.5-meter long wooden boat was found 10km (6.2 miles) south of the Ushitaki fishing port, Aomori prefecture.

In the last two months, eleven wooden fishing vessels have drifted ashore from the Sea of Japan on the Japanese coast.
Though there was nothing to definitively identify the boat, it looks very similar to boats found in October in the same region, which featured Korean "Hangul" lettering and markings on their hull.

The latest find brings the death toll from the ghost boats to 25.
The Tsushima current running north-eastward up the west coast of Japan has brought abundance to fishermen. Most recently it has brought giant jellyfish grown monstrous on the effluence from the industrial revolutions taking place in China and South Korea.
Now the current is delivering its grimmest cargo yet: rickety boats filled with corpses.
They were probably fishermen for squid, who were caught out in storms and who died of exposure or thirst. Little happens in North Korea without the say-so of dictator Kim Jong Un.

He has pushed the state-owned seafood industry to increase its haul. Seafood is North Korea’s sixth-biggest export. Running the business has long been the duty of the North Korean army.
The North is pressing it's fishermen to go farther out to sea for larger catches.

Japan’s coastguard says over 400 North Korean squid boats were spotted near its exclusive economic zone last year, up from 110 in 2013.