South Korean fishermen discover unoccupied North Korean boat

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (UPI) — A small wooden boat of North Korean origin was found near the South Korean city of Incheon on Thursday.

The unoccupied vessel was discovered about 11:20 a.m. less than four miles from Daecheong Island, according to local fisherman and security officials, News 1 reported.

The boat measured 4 meters in length and had a width of 1.5 meters.

At the time of its discovery, about 80 percent of the ship was submerged and appeared unoccupied, according to the report.

South Korean fishermen who discovered the boat handed it over to local authorities around noon.

Security officials said the boat appears to have floated down south of the disputed maritime border on the western coast due to strong winds and a storm in the Yellow Sea.

The boat did not appear to be for military use.

Similar fishing boats have been discovered in recent months off the coasts of both South Korea and Japan.

Last March, a large piece of a North Korean fishing boat was found on a South Korean beach, and Japanese authorities have reported the appearance of unoccupied North Korean fishing vessels.

In 2015, Japan’s coast guard discovered a total of 16 boats of North Korean origin carrying 27 bodies. The cause of death onboard remains unknown.

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