Photo/IllutrationThe damaged Maritime Self-Defense Force minesweeper Notojima (Provided by the Japan Coast Guard’s Onomichi office)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

ONOMICHI, Hiroshima Prefecture--A Maritime Self-Defense Force minesweeper collided with a freighter in the Seto Inland Sea early June 27, but no injuries were reported.

The Japan Coast Guard's Onomichi office said it suspected that crew members on both vessels were negligent as visibility was apparently not an issue.

The minesweeper Notojima carried a crew of 41 and the cargo vessel JK3 had a complement of five people.

Neither vessel was in danger of sinking and there were no indications of spilled oil, authorities said.

However, the Notojima was taking on water from a deep gash in its starboard side and unable to move under its own power.

The incident occurred around midnight about 1.5 kilometers off Kouneshima island in Hiroshima Prefecture.

The JK3 freighter sustained scratch mark to its bow's port side.

The JCG said the minesweeper has a standard displacement of 510 tons and was en route to Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, via Awajishima island in Hyogo Prefecture. It was traveling at about 14 knots.

The ship had departed from its home base at Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture.

The 699-ton freighter owned by Kyokuyo Shipping Co. in Kita-Kyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, was headed for Fukuyama Port in Hiroshima Prefecture from Kanda Port in Kita-Kyushu and moving at about 12 knots.

The Notojima was badly damaged because its hull is made of wood as a precaution against setting off a mine.

Authorities said that conditions were fine at the time with a slight wind blowing from the northwest.

JCG officials in Onomichi spoke to crew members on both vessels to try to determine why the collision occurred.