Coast Guard vessel runs aground in Japan, no crew injured

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A Japanese patrol vessel ran aground near Niigata prefecture Wednesday morning and was unable to sail again, the Coast Guard said, adding that no crew members were injured but oil was spilled in the area.

While the Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident, which occurred off Kashiwazaki around 6:30 a.m., the local office said there may have been human error in maneuvering the 3,100-ton Echigo.

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Yusuke Ono, head of the Niigata Coast Guard Bureau, told a press conference that the accident occurred as the 105-meter ship approached a lighthouse to check that the lighting system was working properly.

Seawater got into some parts of the hull, but there was no concern that the ship would sink, it said. The weather conditions were rainy with a wind speed of almost 40 kilometers per hour at the time of the incident.

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Japanese Coast Guard Commander Shohei Ishii apologized and said, “It is regrettable that a patrol vessel caused an accident, even though it was supposed to ensure safety at sea.”

A similar accident involving a Maritime Self-Defense Force ship off Yamaguchi Prefecture made headlines last week.

Photo taken from a TBEN News aircraft on Jan. 18, 2023, shows the Niigata Coast Guard Office patrol boat Echigo off Kashiwazaki in Niigata Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo. The 3,100-tonne ship leaked oil after it ran aground while on patrol. (TBEN) ==TBEN

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Photo taken Jan. 18, 2023, shows the Niigata Coast Guard Office patrol boat Echigo off the coast of Kashiwazaki in Niigata Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo. The 3,100-tonne ship leaked oil after it ran aground while on patrol. (TBEN) ==TBEN