Wed, Feb 27, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Japan arrests Taiwanese after fatal collision

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would provide all necessary assistance to the Taiwanese captain of a cargo ship who was arrested on Monday following a fatal collision with two Japanese fishing boats in Osaka Bay, ministry spokesperson Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said yesterday.

Japanese media reported yesterday that 64-year-old Lee Yuan-ming (李元明) was arrested, along with a 27-year-old Japanese pilot, by the Fifth Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Kobe City.

The incident occurred at 5:30am on Monday when the Japanese pilot was navigating the 13,246 tonne cargo ship. Media reports said the collision capsized the two Japanese fishing boats, which belonged to an Osaka Prefecture fisheries cooperative. It resulted in the death of a crewman of one of the fishing boats. Another crewman was missing, the reports said.

Three of the four fishermen on the two boats were rescued and rushed to hospital.

On Thursday last week, the cargo ship, which belongs to Wan Hai Lines Ltd (萬海航運), sailed from Taipei carrying cloth and electronic components with 21 crew on board.

Lee was arrested on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in death, the reports said.

The ministry has confirmed that all the crew members on Lee’s vessel are safe.

Wan Hai has been dealing with the aftermath of the incident, while the Taipei Representative Office in Osaka would provide necessary help, Hsia said.

The representative office is trying to find out on what charges the captain is being detained, Hsia said, adding that the cause of the collisions has yet to be determined.

Separately, Japanese media reported last week that a second round of preparatory talks for the resumption of negotiations between Tokyo and Taipei on demarcating fishing grounds in disputed waters surrounding the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) are set for tomorrow.

Hsia did not confirm the reports, adding that details about the talks were still being discussed.

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