A ferry in Japan got into an accident, injuring 80 passengers. Investigations are underway, and authorities believe the vessel might have collided with a marine animal.
On Saturday, a jetfoil ferry traveling from Niigata Port to Sado Island got into an accident, causing many injuries. Of the 121 passengers and four crew members, the coast guard initially counted 87 injuries but later on lowered the count to 80. Of them, 13 sustained serious injuries such as broken bones.
The vessel left the port at 11:30 a.m. and the collision happened at 12:15 p.m., but the ferry still reached its destination by 1:30 p.m. Investigations are already underway, but it is believed that the ferry collided with a marine animal, possibly a whale. Upon inspection, the ferry actually had a 15-centimeter crack at the stern.
Evidently, such accidents are quite common in routes around Japan and South Korea, which is why many ferry operators have installed devices that emit noises that whales do not like, and call on their passengers to secure their seat belts.
A vessel strike is a collision between any type of boat, from ships to jet skis, and a marine animal. Often, the types of vessels reported in vessel strikes are cargo ships, whale watching boats, military vessels, ferries, and vessels used for recreational purposes, while the most common animals involved in such accidents are whales, seals, and sea lions.
Such accidents happen because oftentimes, the vessel operator does not see the marine animals from the surface and even if they do, there is no more time to avoid a collision. Animals such as the North Atlantic right whales are especially vulnerable to vessel strikes because their habitat is close to ports, while sea turtles also become vulnerable to such accidents when they come to the surface to breathe, bask, or forage.
Unfortunately, in such accidents, the marine animal is seriously injured or killed, and the people on the vessel also tend to get seriously injured.