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Japan’s maritime authorities are trying to locate the 26 passengers of a tourist boat that is said to have sunk off the Shiretoko peninsula, on the northern island of Hokkaido, after issuing a distress call.


Tokyo, Japan | The crew of the ship, Kazu 1, contacted the Coast Guard at around 1:15 pm local time (04:15 GMT) today, asking for help as the ship’s bow was flooded and sinking, according to data advanced by the chain. NHK public television.

After losing communication with the ship, coastal authorities sent five patrol boats and two helicopters to the area.

The Japanese television channel NHK broadcast live from a helicopter images of the search operations that took place until nightfall, but until then no trace of the vessel or passengers had been found, which, according to the latest communication made, had. Among the 26 people traveling on the ship at the time of the incident, 24 were passengers, including two minors, the remaining two being the captain and one deck crew.

According to the company that operates the boat, with a capacity for 65 people, the Kazu 1 was scheduled to leave the port of Utorohigashi, in the city of Shari, at 10:00 am and sail through Cape Shiretoko, where it carries out sightseeing, and then return around one o’clock.

The waters were rough this morning in the area and boats that had gone out to fish collected their nets and returned to port around noon, members of the Utoro fishing cooperative told NHK.

The Japan Meteorological Agency had issued a warning today for rough seas and strong waves with waves up to three or four meters high in waters off eastern Hokkaido, where the Shiretoko Peninsula is located.

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