Okinawan fisherman found off coast Kochi after drifting for 20 days

Okinawan fisherman found off coast Kochi after drifting for 20 days

Fisherman Shimabukuro smiling as he arrived at Naha Airport, around 1:20pm on July 2.


July 1, 2011 compiled from Kyodo News reports

According to the Kyodo News Service, the Kochi office of the Japan Coast Guard stated on June 30 that an Okinawan fisherman and his boat had been found safe off Cape Muroto, Kochi Prefecture, after drifting for 20 days.The captain and his fishing boat had been missing from off the coast of Okinawa since early June.

The fisherman was confirmed as 70 year-old Ryoko Shimabukuro, a resident of Ie Village, Okinawa Prefecture. He is in good physical condition and does not look emaciated. He said, “My fishing boat had been drifting since its engine failed. I was afraid that nobody would find me or the boat.”

According to the Ie Fishermen’s Union, Shimabukuro left Ie Fishing Port to catch sodeika squid on June 8, and was due to return to port around June 18.

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Ie fisherman Shimabukuro’s happy homecoming after drifting at sea

July 3, 2011 compiled from the report of Ryukyu Shimpo

Seventy year-old captain Ryoko Shimabukuro returned to Okinawa with his brothers on a plane. He was found safe by the Coast Guard, off the coast of Kochi Prefecture after drifting for 20 days on his fishing boat Mitsu Maru, which is owned by the Ie Fishermen’s Union. In response to questions from reporters about his health and how he felt to see his family again, he replied, nodding, “It’s good to see them.” Shimabukuro was hugged by one of his relatives who smiled as he said, “We are happy to see him back safe and sound.”

Around 1:20pm on July 2, Shimabukuro came out through the arrival gate of Naha Airport, wearing a black hat, a white T-shirt and with a towel wrapped around his neck. He walked steadily and only seemed a little tired. He got in to a car with his relatives and departed for Ie-jima.

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(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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