Zim: Captain was asleep during accident
Company official says captain of Israeli cargo ship Zim Asia was asleep when the ship hit the Japanese fishing boat and the officer on duty did not wake him; adds, ‘the officer on duty insists that he did not detect any radar signs indicating an accident had occurred and therefore he saw no reason to wake the ship’s captain.’ Zim CEO Doron Goder holds press conference upon his arrival in Japan, says, ‘Zim Asia crew was not aware of the collision with the Japanese fishing boat, otherwise the crewmembers would have attempted to save those on board
The captain of the Israeli cargo ship Zim Asia was asleep when the ship hit the Japanese fishing boat and the officer on duty did not wake him, a Zim official told Ynet on Tuesday.
Seven Japanese fishermen were killed in last week’s incident, which took place in northern Japan.
According to the official, who spoke to a number of Zim Asia crewmembers, “the officer on duty insists that he did not detect any radar signs indicating an accident had occurred; therefore, he saw no reason to wake the ship’s captain."
The official denied previous reports that said Zim Asia identified the Japanese boat on its radar prior to the collision.
“It is legitimate and normal that the captain, just like anyone else, sleeps occasionally; he, along with the rest of the crew, did not realize an accident had taken place, he said.
“The captain said he has not been able to sleep since the accident.”
'Zim Asia crew was not aware of collision'
The official said the captain claims the ship did not change its course following the accident.
“There is no way the officer on duty would have changed course without informing the captain,” he said.
“From my experience as a sailor, a collision with such a small vessel as the Japanese fishing boat could not have altered the ship’s course."
The official said he estimates that the captain and officer on duty will not be fired “because they did not detect any signs on the radar and acted according to the rules and regulations.”
Meanwhile, Zim CEO Doron Goder held a press conference upon his arrival in Japan, during which he apologized to the victims and the lone survivor, adding that the company will do whatever is necessary to help the victims’ families.
However, Goder stressed that that the Zim Asia crew was not aware of the collision with the Japanese fishing boat, otherwise the crewmembers would have attempted to save those on board.
'Israeli ship should have saved the crew'
The Japanese Coast Guard said that satellite data show Zim Asia changed its course at approximately the same time the accident occurred.
Goder said during his visit to Japan that Zim Asia is equipped with advanced apparatus to detect vessels in a radius of less than one kilometer (0.6 miles), adding that the “equipment did not beep during the accident.
On Monday Zim Board of Directors Chairman Idan Ofer paid a visit to the Japanese embassy in Israel Monday to apologize for Israel's involvement in the fishing boat accident.
After he left the meeting with Japanese envoy Jun Yokota, Ofer said: "On behalf of Zim Shipping, we want to first of all apologize to the crew of the Japanese vessel. It's a sad day for us," he said. There is no doubt Zim's ship hit the Japanese boat, but we don't believe our captain was aware he hit anything…any captain aware that he hit a vessel, and that there were survivors, would have offered help."
The victims’ family members have expressed their satisfaction with the launching of the investigation into the incident.
“I hope the Japanese government will demand that the Israeli ship claim responsibility for its actions,” the father of one of the victims said.
Rinko Satu, whose husband Toshinuri died in the accident, said, “The Israeli ship should have saved the (fishing boat’s) crew.”
Iris Georlette contributed to the story