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Korea: Fisheries official vanishes from boat, spotted north of border

Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 23, 2020
The South Korean military revealed that a government fisheries official was possibly picked up by North Koreans after he apparently jumped overboard while working on a boat off the coast of Yeonpyeong Island on Monday.
Korea sea
Vanishes   Korea sea
Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense said in a statement it was leaving all possibilities open including the likelihood that he defected after revealing that the fisheries control official was spotted alive in North Korean waters Tuesday afternoon.

Topics: Korea

The 47 year old works as a monitoring official for the West Sea Fisheries Management Service, an agency under the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries responsible for protecting fisheries in the Yellow Sea, based in Mokpo, South Jeolla.

On Monday, he was aboard a monitoring boat with several colleagues around two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the coast of Small Yeonpyeong Island when they became aware of his absence at 11:30 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.

His colleagues later reported him missing after discovering only his shoes on board the boat, prompting the Coast Guard to scramble a major search operation at around 1:50 p.m. that afternoon.

Around 20 vessels, including a Navy boat and plane, were deployed to search for the missing official in nearby waters.

The Defense Ministry said it believed the official was still alive after he was last spotted on the North Korean side above the so-called Northern Limit Line, approximately 10 kilometers north of where he went missing. The military's statement did not provide any further details of the sighting.