Korean Ghost Ship

Ghost Ships from North Korea

In November, a wooden ship with seven decomposed bodies in it was found floating off the coast of the Japan Sea. It was spotted by fishermen in the strait that separates Korea and Japan. As labels on the clothes was in Korean Hangul, and a Kim Jong-Il badge was found on one of the bodies, the bodies are thought to be North Korean. In recent months a number of these boats with bodies on board have been found drifting off Japan’s west coast.

There are various theories on why this scenario is happening. The most likely is that as North Korea is undergoing yet more food shortages and Koreans, probably members of its army, have been ordered to go to sea to fish and so improve food stocks. However the boats are very primitive, have tiny engines, no GDPS navigation equipment and seem to be crewed by soldiers with no fishing experience. In addition the waters off Japan are quite treacherous in late autumn. Small wonder then that their crews meet this fate. The bodies have been cremated and probably the ship, pictured above, will also by burned.

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All photos and text copyright © Tony Smyth