JCG’s craft hits rubber boat carrying Henoko protesters
March 11, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
A collision occurred when the Japan Coast Guard (JCG)’s special guard and rescue craft “Arutairu,” was chasing a rubber boat carrying two citizens protesting against the construction of a new offshore U.S. air base in Henoko to replace Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
At 12:08 p.m. on March 10, two protest boats carrying the citizens went beyond the floats marking a restricted area in the sea off the cost of Sedake, Nago. Surrounded by boats carrying coast guard officers, one of the protest boats retreated to the left corner of the temporary restricted area, which was observed by a Ryukyu Shimpo reporter. Another protest boat stayed within the right side of the floats, and citizens jumped off it in protest. The JCG’s boats rushed in to pull the citizens out of the water. While the JCG’s boats focused on the two protest boats, a small boat carrying citizens went beyond the floats, moving parallel to the floats.
Eight seconds before the collision, Arutairu, which was facing the protest boat moving towards it, moved straight towards the boat carrying the Ryukyu Shimpo reporter. And then the JCG’s craft shifted course towards the boat carrying the citizens. It pursued the citizens as they sped away in their boat. The JCG’s craft appeared to slow down in a split second before hitting the boat. According to the JCG website, Arutairu is 10-meters long and 2.7-meter wide, weighing five tons.
(English translation by T&CT)
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