Aboard 'Ghost Ship' Found in Japan: Bodies Reduced to Bone

It's believed to have come from North Korea
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2017 8:00 AM CST
Japan Finds 'Ghost Ship' With Skeletonized Remains
In this Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, photo, an unidentified boat is pictured in Oga, Akita prefecture, northern Japan after being washed ashore. Japan is urging local authorities and fishermen to be on the alert after several boats thought to be from North Korea were found on its northern coast.   (Kantaro Saki/Kyodo News via AP)

Just days ago, a boat washed ashore in northern Japan. Aboard were eight men who said they were from North Korea. Now, another boat has been found just 45 miles north of the first, and it also held eight—except all are dead. The 23-foot wooden "ghost ship" was discovered Sunday on a beach near Oga. It had no navigational devices and had lost a rotor blade. Some aboard had been "reduced to bones," and Kyodo News reports that the coast guard suspects it originated in North Korea, which sits about 450 miles away. Sky News reports foreign ships aren't an uncommon occurrence in Japan: 44 have washed ashore this year; 66 did so in 2016.

The BBC presents a theory as to why: Some believe North Korea has been calling for more seafood to be fished in order to feed a hungry population. The increased demand may be leading its citizens to take boats that are in subpar condition far off its shores. And as a professor with Japan's Tokai University tells Sky News, the Sea of Japan "starts to get choppy when November comes. It gets dangerous when northwesterly winds start to blow." Kyodo notes the boat that carried the eight live men has vanished; police are reviewing both cases. (This ghost ship was found gutted by fire.)

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