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HORIEI MARU Sinks After Collision with NIKKEI TIGER off Japan; Thirteen Fishermen Missing

Before dawn on Monday morning (Japan local time), while the crew of F/V HORIEI MARU were sleeping, HORIEI MARU and cargo ship M/V NIKKEI TIGER collided. This happened about 560 miles into the Pacific off Miyagi Prefecture, which is roughly 190 miles north of Tokyo.

NIKKEI TIGER is a 25,074 ton, Panama-flagged 621-foot bulk carrier built in 1997, with an average speed of 11 knots. It is operated by Tamai Steamship Company in Tokyo. NIKKEI TIGER is reported to have sustained no damage, and none of her 21 crew, 17 of which are said to be Japanese from Mie Prefecture, were lost or injured.

HORIEI MARU is recorded as a 119-ton bonito fishing vessel, built in 1999. Her home ported is in Mie Prefecture, which is about 170 miles south of Tokyo. She had just left Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, on Friday. A couple of hours after the collision, the bow of HORIEI MARU was spotted, but was never located again. She is now believed to have sunk. The sleeping fishermen were not wearing flotation devices at the time of the collision. Of the 22 crewmembers of HORIEI MARU, nine were rescued and thirteen are still missing.

The Japan Coast Guard received a call from HORIEI MARU around 2:30 a.m. local time on Monday. A sister ship of HORIEI MARU, F/V KOIE MARU, rescued the nine survivors (five Japanese and four Indonesians) at around 7:00 a.m. The Japan Coast Guard deployed two airplanes to search for the remaining thirteen (twelve Japanese and one Indonesian). The Maritime Self-Defense Force also joined the search, to no further avail.

According to reports, seas were six feet with rain and winds of over 30 mph, and visibility was barely over half a mile when the collision occurred. It has not yet been ascertained why this tragedy happened.

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