New effort to raise sunken tour boat to start Thursday

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The work vessel Kaishin, back, is seen with another vessel carrying an unmanned underwater vehicle off Shari, Hokkaido, on Wednesday.

A salvage team plans to try again to raise a sunken tour boat in waters off Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula on Thursday after the boat fell back to the seafloor during the first salvage attempt on Tuesday, when belts being used to lift it failed.

The 1st Regional Coast Guard Headquarters announced Wednesday that preparations to raise the Kazu I sightseeing boat had begun, using an unmanned underwater vehicle and other measures.

They plan to attach a nylon belt called a belt sling to the body of the Kazu I, using the unmanned vehicle. The sunken boat is scheduled to be lifted aboard a work vessel, the Kaishin.

When the Kazu I was lifted on Tuesday, the Kaishin headed for a shallower area with the Kazu I suspended below it in the sea at a depth of 20 meters. However, two belt slings failed and the Kazu I sank to the seafloor at a depth of 182 meters, about 11 kilometers off Utoro fishing port.

Stronger belts are to be used for lifting the sunken boat again. The Kazu I is planned to be moved to shallower waters by securing its hull to the side of the Kaishin. It will then be pulled aboard the work vessel.