Kazu I sinking likely result of flooding through bow hatch

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An image of the Kazu I sightseeing tour boat from its operator’s website

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The sinking of the Kazu I sightseeing tour boat off the coast of Hokkaido in April apparently came after seawater flooded into the ship from its bow hatch and a broken glass window, the Japan Transport Safety Board said in an interim report on Thursday.

The safety board will continue the investigation to determine possible structural problems with the Kazu I and whether the decision to allow the boat to depart was appropriate.

Twenty-six people were aboard the Kazu I when it sank off the Shiretoko Peninsula on April 23. The accident has left 20 people dead and the other six missing.

An inspection of the salvaged Kazu I found that the cover of its bow hatch was missing. The hatch is the most likely area where the seawater started coming into the boat, while the impact of other damaged areas was limited, the safety board said.