Crash leads to tighter controls on passenger boat communication systems

The Japanese Ministry of Transport plans to strengthen emergency inspections of passenger boats that are carried out following the sinking of a ship. She says she wants to make sure the boats are able to communicate with operators ashore.

The tour boat, “KAZU I”, sank off the coast of Shiretoko Peninsula in northern Japan on April 23. Of the 26 people on board, 14 have been confirmed dead and 12 others are missing.

The boat passed a government safety inspection before the incident happened. The boat operator registered a mobile phone as mandatory communication equipment during the inspection. But it was revealed that the network of carriers did not fully cover the cruise itinerary.

The department suggested that the inspection may have been inadequate.

The ministry says it will confirm that a transport network fully covers a ship’s cruise itinerary, if the ship registers a mobile phone as mandatory communication equipment.

The ministry would also require boats to sail during inspections and actually check whether ships can properly communicate with operators ashore.

On small boat safety, a government panel is due to meet on Wednesday. Members will discuss ways to improve government inspections.

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