Mystery ghost fleet washes up in Japan
An unsettling mystery has washed up on Japan’s shores.
Over the past two months a fleet of 12 ghost ships containing the rotting remains of sailors has washed up on the Japanese coastline, sparking an investigation in the country. These wooden boats have been found in the Sea of Japan on or near the coast, carrying a chilling cargo — the decaying bodies of 22 people.
All the bodies were “partially skeletonized” — two were found without heads — and one boat contained six skulls, the coast guard said. The first boat was found in October, then a series of boats were found in November Another ship found in mid-November off Noto Peninsula that was towed to the shore.
Coast guard officials are trying to unravel the riddle of where these ghostly boats came from and what happened to those on board. Their best guess so far is that the ships are from North Korea.
The mysterious ships have given rise to numerous conspiracy theories in the country, as authorities battle to discover the identities of the bodies. Rescuers told Japanese broadcaster NHK that the bodies of at least 20 sailors were ‘badly decomposed’ and ‘skeleton-like’.
The lack of modern equipment, including GPS locating equipment, on board the ships means that several have gone missing. Others believe the sailors may have been North Koreans trying to flee the oppressive rule of leader Kim Jong-un.
Coastguards told broadcaster NHK that the crews may have been drifting for months on end without anyone knowing where they were.
The primitive design of the vessels suggests that they were not created in the West. It is believed that the boats have come to light now, following recent storms which may have swept them towards the coastline.
Wright said the lettering on the boats he looked at is Korean — or Hangul — text and the “primitive” boats and reference to the Korean People’s Army makes it “very logical” to assume the boats are from North Korea. Yoshihiko Yamada, a maritime expert, told NHK the vessels bear a “striking resemblance” to those used by defectors from North Korea.