The submarine “Soryu” of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force collided today, February 8, with a private commercial vessel “Ocean Artemis” off the coast of Kochi Prefecture, three submariners were injured, reports the Japanese state broadcaster NHK.
Cabinet Secretary-General Katsunobu Kato said the accident occurred at 10:58 local time when the submarine Soryu collided with a private commercial vessel off the coast of Cape Ashizuri in Kochi Prefecture. According to him, there was no hull damage to the merchant vessel or the submarine.
“Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has instructed us to do everything in our power to gather information, confirm the safety of the submarine Soryu and the private merchant vessel and, if necessary, conduct prompt rescue operations,” Kato said.
According to the Japanese Coast Guard, the Ocean Artemis is registered in Hong Kong with 90,000 tons of iron ore and 21 Chinese on board. According to the IHI Jet Service website, which publishes information on the ship’s whereabouts, the ship left a port in Qingdao, Shandong Province, on Feb. 5 and headed toward Okayama Prefecture.
TOP NEWS adds: According to the Ministry of Defense of Japan, the submarine Soryu was commissioned in 2009 and is part of the 1st group of submarines in the Kure Self-Defense Naval Base. The submarine is equipped with six torpedo tubes and carries 65 people. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has several such submarines in service to conduct operations in the East China Sea.