Captain of Japanese fishing boat suspended for fatal collision with Russian vessel

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The captain of a Japanese fishing vessel was sentenced Monday by Asahikawa District Court to three years in prison, suspended for five years, for the death of three crew members after a collision with a Russian vessel in off Hokkaido in May.

Teruyoshi Yoshioka, the 63-year-old captain of Hokko Maru No.8, did not check the boat’s radar sufficiently, although he was alerted by radio by another boat to monitor the 662-ton Russian vessel Amur, said declared the presiding judge. Takashi Misawa in making the decision.

Yoshioka was facing charges of professional negligence resulting in death as well as endangering traffic through negligence. Prosecutors were seeking a three-year sentence for him.

The 9.7-ton boat, which was catching hairy crabs when the collision occurred around 6:30 a.m. on May 26 and capsized, was sailing in low visibility due to heavy fog, the ruling said. But the court handed down a stay, noting that Love was also at fault.

The collision of the ships resulted in the fall and drowning of three crew members. The boat, owned by a fishing cooperative based in Mombetsu in Hokkaido, was piloted by five people.

Pavel Dobrianskii, 38, a third officer who was in charge of the Amur at the time of the collision, was also referred to prosecutors in June on the same charges for failing to avoid the collision.

The Russian ship with 23 crew on board was transporting seafood to Mometsu from Sakhalin in the Russian Far East.

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