The Japan Coast Guard has taken into custody one Xia Hong-bo, a 35-year-old Chinese sailor for his alleged role in the collision of two freighters in Japanese waters south of Tokyo on Friday, September 27. Xia was aboard the ship Jia Hui as it crashed into Japanese freighter Eifuku Maru No. 18 and caused it to capsize, resulting in the death of five of its six crew members. All 13 sailors aboard the Jia Hui are safe.
Xia was on duty when the 2,962-ton Jia Hui collided with the 498-ton Eifuku Maru No. 18 around 100 kilometers south of Tokyo at around 1:25 a.m. Friday. According to the Japanese Coast Guard, Xia was at fault for the collision. Before he was arrested, Xia was quoted as telling the investigators that he had been unable to avoid the collision despite all his efforts. Among the six crew members of the Eifuku Maru, five died while 61-year-old first engineer Tamao Miki still is missing and is the subject of a continued search and rescue operation by coast guard officials.
The Jia Hui is registered in Sierra Leone and was bound for the port of Busan in South Korea, setting out from Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture. The Eifuku Maru is owned by a Nagoya-based shipping company, and was heading for Ichikawa in Chiba Prefecture, carrying steel as cargo to be delivered east of Tokyo. The coast guard had sent patrol boats and helicopters to continue the search and rescue operations.