In the case of the sinking of a sightseeing boat off the coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula, it was found that the president of the operating company responded to an investigation by the National Transport Safety Board by saying, "I thought it would be better to leave it to the captain to decide whether or not to set sail." The Japan Transport Safety Board will release a report on the 29th that describes these facts revealed by the investigation, and will hear opinions from experts and others at a "public opinion meeting" to be held next month.

In December last year, the National Transport Safety Board, which is investigating the cause of the accident, released a progress report stating that seawater flowed in through a hatch with a faulty fastener regarding the accident in which a sightseeing boat sank off the coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula, killing 20 people and leaving 6 people missing.

The committee is also conducting interviews with related parties, and it turns out that Seiichi Katsurada, president of Shiretoko Pleasure Boat, who was in charge of operation management, said, "At the site, we had a system in place to consult with the captains of other companies in the same industry and make decisions such as sailing, so we thought it would be better to leave the operation to the captain's judgment."

Regarding the hatch malfunction, he replied, "I have not received a report from the captain and I am aware that there was no malfunction."

The Japan Transport Safety Board released a report on the results of these interviews, the weather conditions on the day, damage to the hull, and other facts revealed in the investigation on the 29th, and decided to hold an "opinion hearing" meeting on the 26th of next month to hear opinions from experts and related parties.

Based on the opinions expressed there, we will compile a final report that analyzes the causes of the accident and includes measures to prevent recurrence.

Report includes multiple testimonies of captains' inexperience

The report also included multiple testimonies about the deceased captain's lack of experience.

The sunken KAZU 1 was replaced by an experienced former captain who had been captained by a man who had served as a deckmate for four months in April.

According to the Japan Transportation Safety Board, when asked about the experience required for a captain navigating these waters, the previous captain replied, "When I was hired by the company, I was told that a total of three years of deck experience was required to become a captain."

Regarding the skill of the deceased captain, "I felt that I lacked an understanding of weather judgment, understanding of sea areas and topography, course taking, etc."

In addition, regarding the reason why the previous captain was discontinued, President Katsurada replied, "Due to the influence of the new coronavirus Reiwa sales were about one-third in 2012, and cash flow was tight."

On the other hand, the hatch where seawater is said to have flowed into the hatch had a problem with the lid during a drill held two days before the accident, and it was floating about 3 centimeters, so it did not appear to have been repaired by the day of the accident.

President Katsurada responded to the investigation by saying, "We have not received a report from the captain and we are aware that there was no problem."

In addition, President Katsurada said that the captain told him that even if he was a flight manager, he did not need to be in the office all the time, and that he had a meeting with the captain before sailing on the day of the accident that he would turn back if the weather deteriorated.

According to the Japan Transport Safety Board, the "public consultation meeting" is held in the event of a serious accident that attracted public attention, and has been held in eight cases so far, including the Nikko Jumbo plane crash and the derailment of the JR Fukuchiyama Line, but this is the first time it has been a ship accident.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno: "Safety measures: Strengthening both hardware and software"

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno said at the morning press conference, "In order to prevent accidents and reduce damage, we are promoting multilayered reinforcement of both hard and soft safety measures for passenger ships.