The 19-ton Kazu 1 tour boat with 26 people aboard including two children was missing in rough and cold waters off northern Japan on Saturday after reporting to be sinking. It was traveling off the western coast of Shiretoko Peninsula in the northern island of Hokkaido,which takes about three hours. High waves and strong winds were observed in the area. According to Japanese media reports, the fishing boats returned to the port before noon due to bad weather. Public broadcaster NHK said there was a warning of waves up to nine feet high.It is understood that the crew of the ‘Kazu 1’ had informed the coastguard that the boat’s bow had become flooded. The ship was operated by Shiretoko Pleasure Cruise. An intense search involving six patrol boats and four aircraft, for more than seven hours, found nothing despite fact that crew and passengers were wearing life jackets so it’s supposed there were no survivors.
Sea temperatures in Shiretoko National Park – listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site – are just above freezing at this time of the year. People are invited to explore Shiretoko National Park, home to 36 land and 22 marine mammal species as well as 285 bird species, including brown bears. The Shiretoko Peninsula is Hokkaido’s farthest northeastern promontory surrounded by about 220 square kilometers of sea. Shiretoko Pleasure Cruise company has excellent reviews. The price for a cruise is between 3.500 and 8.800 yen.