Small wooden boats filled with unidentified dead sailors, assumed to be North Korean fishermen, keep washing up on the shores of Japan.
The so-called ‘ghost ships’ have been regularly washing up on the shores of Oga, a city in the peninsular Akita Prefecture. This year, however, has already seen a dramatic rise in the number of discoveries.
Since December, the remains of 35 people have been found aboard 103 wooden boats that drifted onto Japanese shores or were discovered in its territorial waters. A total of 13 of the dead have yet to be identified.
Some North Korean fishermen have been found alive aboard the vessels, while the remains of others have been discovered in a partly skeletal condition.
Last year, 8 corpses were found on a wooden boat in Oga, with two more skeletal remains found washed ashore. At that time of year temperatures can drop to below freezing and sea conditions are so stormy it is “impossible” to safely sail in the boats these fishermen are using.
Oga’s authorities have requested that the city’s Tosenji temple temporarily accept the remains of the unidentified dead sailors, whose ashes have been kept in urns, as well as some DNA samples, in case North Korea or family members ever need to identify the deceased.
RT.com / ABC Flash Point Shipping News 2018.