Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora begins operating
On May 20, the Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora, a large boat that operates from the Shari-cho Utoro fishing port in the Okhotsk region of eastern Hokkaido, began this season’s operations. The ship had been scheduled to operate from April 28, but because of the sinking of the small sightseeing boat KAZUⅠ, which operated from the same fishing port, the company refrained from operation while cooperating in the search for missing persons. Passengers viewed the magnificent scenery from the ship, on which safety measures had been taken, and offered their thoughts to the victims of the accident and those who remain missing.
On May 20, one service operated in the morning and one in the afternoon, with approximately 70 passengers aboard in total. The journey was made only to the waters off the coast of the Kamuiwakka Falls, approximately 15 kilometers up the coast, and back. As of yet, no decision has been made as to whether or not the journey to the tip of the Shiretoko Cape via the Kashuni Falls, near the scene of the accident, will be resumed.
Nineteen passengers boarded the boat for the first trip at 10:30 a.m. They enjoyed taking photos and viewing the Shiretoko mountain range, on which snow cover remained. In response to the accident, new panels regarding safe operation were displayed on the ship, including information on life-saving equipment such as life rafts that can accommodate all passengers, and communication devices such as radios and satellite phones.
“I saw a brown bear and waterfalls. Because of the accident, I wondered if it was safe. I hope they find the missing people soon,” said a man visiting from Nagoya.
Takahashi Akira, CEO of Doto Kanko Kaihatsu, the company that operates the Aurora boat, said, “We checked the safety of the boat many times. We will take care to ensure that an accident will not happen again.”
Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora
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