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Sailors on a N. Korean wooden boat repatriated to the North

Sailors on a N. Korean wooden boat repatriated to the North

Posted July. 30, 2019 07:29,   

Updated July. 30, 2019 07:29


Three North Korean sailors on a wooden boat, found by the South Korean forces at Sunday night to cross the Northern Limit Line in the East Sea, were sent to North Korea at 3:31 p.m. on Monday. They were repatriated in 40 hours after they crossed the border line, and just in one day after the investigation by the South Korean authorities.

The South Korean Maritime Police repatriated the sailors and the wooden boat to the North around the NLL area in the East Sea. A North Korean ship came south to take them back to the North. It was confirmed that the three sailors are civilians and exhibit none of suspicious signatures.

After the wooden boat in question departed from Tongchon Port in Gangwon Province, North Korea early Saturday morning, it mistakenly crossed the NLL on its way back due to bad weather conditions, according to a military official. With a white scarf hanging at the tip of the mast, the boat made sure that they have no will to defect. It is a usual measure to prevent against any crash with a large-scale vessel, according to the South Korean military. Regarding a military suit that the captain then wore, he testified that his wife made it with a fabric she bought at a market. The return of the North Korean sailors was made one day after two South Koreans on a Russian fishing vessel detained by the North were sent back to the South.

South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff analyzed that the squid fishing ground, which is supposed to go up to the north with a current, is situated around the NLL due to low water temperatures this year.

Dong-Joo Cho djc@donga.com