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July 2, 2011

JAPAN: Fisherman, 70, rescued after boat adrift at sea for 3 weeks

OSAKA, Japan / The Mainichi Daily News / News / July 2, 2011

KOCHI -- A fisherman was rescued after his boat went missing and drifted at sea for nearly three weeks, the Kochi Coast Guard Office announced on June 30.

Ryoko Shimabukuro, 70, the captain of the Mitsu Maru, a fishing boat belonging to the Ie fisheries cooperative association in Okinawa Prefecture, was found in good condition after the 4.9-ton boat he was aboard was spotted about 70 kilometers south-southwest of Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture. The boat had gone missing in mid-June. Mainichi Photo

"I'd been worried I might not be found forever," Shimabukuro was quoted as telling coast guard officials, adding that his boat went adrift at sea after engine trouble. He was unable to use the radio aboard the vessel.

The boat was towed to Kochi Port at around 8:15 p.m. on June 30, from where Shimabukuro was taken to a hospital in the city of Kochi.

Shimabukuro told officials that he had survived on the general service water stocked on the ship but that he had not eaten anything. A foreign vessel that was navigating near the area spotted the boat and reported it to the 5th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Kobe at around noon on June 30, prompting coast guard officials to fly to the area.

The Mitsu Maru, a fishing boat that drifted at sea for about 20 days before being spotted off Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture. (Photo: Kochi Coast Guard Office)

The fishing boat had left Ie Port in Okinawa Prefecture on June 8 to fish for squid and had been scheduled to return on June 18. However, the boat went missing after it was last seen by another boat about 150 kilometers east of Cape Hedo in Okinawa on the evening of June 10.

According to the hospital where Shimabukuro was admitted to, he was suffering from a mild degree of dehydration and pneumonia but was scheduled to leave the hospital on July 1.

Copyright 2011 The Mainichi Newspapers
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