Latest Ghost Ships Wash Ashore in Japan

A derelict wooden boat washed ashore on Monday on Miyazawa beach in the northwest of Japan’s main island Honshu. The boat’s only cargo was eight skeletons. Evidence suggests that the boat and the bones came from North Korea. This boat is the fourth vessel believed to be North Korean to have washed ashore or have been rescued in Japanese waters this month alone. Fifteen of those aboard these vessels were found dead while eleven survivors were rescued and returned to an uncertain fate in North Korea. 

Sky News reports that forty-four wooden vessels believed to be from the Korean peninsula have washed up on Japanese shores – or drifted off the country’s coast – so far this year, compared to 66 in the whole of 2016. 

The “ghost fleet” is, tragically, nothing new. We posted in 2015 about the ghost fleet when 11 derelict vessels containing 25 dead bodies drifted ashore in Japan in a period of two months. In 2013 and 2014, 80 and 65 “ghost vessels” drifted ashore in Japan, respectively.  

Many of the vessels drifting ashore may have been fishing boats and ships overwhelmed in the Sea of Japan which can be notoriously treacherous. The boat on Miyazawa beach, however, did not appear to have fishing gear aboard.

Thanks to Phil Leon for contributing to this post.

This entry was posted in Current, Lore of the Sea, Ships and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Latest Ghost Ships Wash Ashore in Japan

  1. Willy says:

    The cost of a regime that has no interest in its population. What is more sad to me is that the survivors arent allowed to remain after making their journey away from starvation. People should be given a choice to leave.

  2. Irwin Bryan says:

    The vessel pictured has such high freeboard it’s easy to see how it was able to drift all the way to Japan.
    Do you know what kind of propulsion these boats have? Were they out of gas?

  3. Rick Spilman says:

    From what I read in the press, the boats leave port with relatively little fuel so if they get carried off in high seas they may not have enough to return to port. This may be due to fuel shortages or in the attempt to limit defection.

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