A South Korean ship collided with and damaged a North Korean vessel in early October, according to report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published today.
The article from DRPK state media and gives the name of the ships involved, the coordinates and claims the collision was not accidental.
“At around 01:25 on October 1 a south Korean vessel deliberately rammed into Turubong-3, a boat belonging to the Foreign Trade Administration Bureau of North Hamgyong Province when it was conducting (a) fishing operation,” the KCNA article reads.
The report goes onto say there was significant damage to the North Korean fishing vessel, with five sailors wounded. It adds the South Korean ship did not remain at the scene of the collision, instead sailing away at “high speed.”
While maritime databases do not have any record of the DPRK vessel, the South Korean ship called “Highny” was passing through the waters to the east of the DPRK at the reported time of the collision.
According to vessel tracking website Marine Traffic, the ship is a relatively large bulk cargo carrying vessel, managed by the Busan-based J Shipping Co Ltd.
The company would not confirm if the vessel had collided with the DPRK fishing ship, saying only that a Taiwanese surveyor was scheduled to board the ship later today or tomorrow.
“It is true that the ship Highny passed through the area stated by North Korean media, we used our own tracking system and their claim was true. But during the phone call with captain of the ship, he told us that there was no collision between vessels,” a representative from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries control tower told NK News.
“We have acknowledged the concerned departments to make contact with ship’s insurance company, to clarify what really happened in the ocean. We will not be able to confirm anything until we get to hold the detailed walk though by surveyor,” they added.
Historical tracking data shows the vessel did indeed pass near – though not exactly through – the coordinates given by the KCNA report.
The 190-meter ship then continued on its journey. It is currently near Taiwan’s Kaohsiung city.
The article claims the South Korean ship broke maritime law when it left the damaged DPRK fishing ship, calling the act a “grave provocation” and demanding compensation.
“The south Korean authorities should not pay lip-service to ‘humanitarianism’ but strictly investigate the vessel and prime movers, make apology for the piracy and pay proper compensation for the damage done to our crewmen and boat,” the article adds.
North Korean state media doesn’t capitalize the “s” in “South Korea” or “n” in “North Korea” to reflect the idea that they are legitimately one country.
Vessels weighing more than 300 tons are required to be fitted with tracking systems in part to prevent such collisions, and are required to have them switched on at all times.
The KCNA article did not mention if the DPRK fishing ship was fitted with a tracking system, though it did mention the vessel was lighting up the surrounding area with “bright lights.”
Additional reporting by JH Ahn
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 536 words of this article.
Featured Image: Fishing Boats Seafood Processing Factory Rason North Korea by Ray Cunningham on 2013-06-24 09:38:24