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Eerie North Korean ‘ghost’ fishing boats regularly washed up in Russia

By The Siberian Times reporter
28 August 2018

Latest vessel found on 28 August with one dead sailor on board.

Surprisingly the boats were washed ashore close to Vladivostok, which is about 140 kilometres to the north. Picture: Dmitry Novikov

WARNING DISTRESSING PICTURES

At least half a dozen North Korean fishing boats have been found - usually empty - in Russia in recent weeks. 

The latest was washed up in the grounds of Primorsky oceanarium on Russky Island near Vladivostok. 

The body of a man with Asian appearance was found on the schooner. 

Fisherman's body


Boat with the dead body


Boat with the dead body


Boat with the dead body

The body of a man with Asian appearance was found on the schooner. Pictures: VL.ru

This month’s first North Korean boat was found by SUP-surfers on 7 August, near Akhlestysheva Cape.

On board was a fishing net and fishermen's clothes. 

There were no people.  

Map of the boats

The body of a man with Asian appearance was found on the schooner. Pictures: VL.ru

Surfer Daniil Filinov told: 'We think that most likely the boat broke anchor and was washed ashore here. 

‘Judging by everything, it had been at sea a long time.

‘Everything was rusty and covered with sea mucus.’

Boat found on August 7


Boat found on August 7


Boat found on August 7


Boat found on August 7

North Korean boat was found by SUP-surfers on 7 August, near Akhlestysheva Cape. Pictures: VL.ru

Two more were found on Russky Island on 25 August.

These had belongings inside but no people. During the day, the vessels were looted. 

The same day a suspected North Korean vessel got into trouble some 100 km to the south of Nakhodka in the Sea of Japan.

The crew of six radioed for help. 

Boat near Russky island found on August 25


Boat near Russky island found on August 25


Boat near Russky island found on August 25

Two more were found on Russky Island on 25 August. Pictures: VL.ru, Dmitry Novikov

Two were evacuated by a passing ship but the fate of four other crew members is not known.

Their wrecked vessel was spotted at sea by an Mi-8 helicopter despatched by the Ministry of Emergencies.

On 27 August yacht ‘The Time Machine’ - taking part in a regatta - discovered a drifting boat with North Korean identification marks near uninhabited  Stenin island in the Sea of Japan.

The yacht’s captain Mikhail Yermakov said: 'We passed the coordinates to the State Inspection of Small Boats, they notified that they would think what to do with it.

On 27 August yacht ‘The Time Machine’ - taking part in a regatta - discovered a drifting boat with North Korean identification marks near uninhabited  Stenin island

'We did not see any people on board. We shouted but there was silence. Most likely the boat was brought by typhoons into our waters.'

After storms, it is not uncommon for North Korean fishing boats to wash up on the coast of Primosky region, but usually in areas close to Russia’s 22 kilometre nautical (and 17 km land) border with the communist state.  

If people are on board they are returned to North Korea, while the vessels remain oil the coast. 

Looted boat

During the day, the vessels were looted. Pictures: PrimaMedia

Now, surprisingly the boats were washed ashore close to Vladivostok, which is about 140 kilometres to the north. 

In most cases, it is not believed that sailors are seeking to escape from the secretive state. 

Most likely, they are fishermen who have poor equipment and are unable to withstand storms while seeking catches in border waters.

Some 240 boats - mainly North Korean and Chinese - took shelter from storm Soulik which hit between 22 and 24 August.

Most went into the bays of Nakhodka, Terney and Olginsky districts to hide from the storms - all in Russian territorial waters.

A video shows one such vessel beached in Olga Bay some 270 km north of Vladivostok.

North Korean sailors are seen in vain trying to reflect the boat.

Some 240 boats - mainly North Korean and Chinese - took shelter from storm Soulik which hit between 22 and 24 August.

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