first_img News News US dollar and Chinese reminbi plummet against North Korean won once again AvatarChoi Song Min Facebook Twitter Fisherman pushed to the limits – 150 disappear in East Sea SHARE News center_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Proposal to shift “general markets” to “specialized markets” finds little support among N. Korean leaders Due to central encouragement for fishermanto support foreign currency earning by redoubling their seafaring expeditionsbefore the New Year, over 150 North Korean fisherman have disappeared in theEast Sea. Moreover, central authorities have no plans in motion to address orrecover the lost fisherman and are continuing to encourage concentrated fishingactivity.In a recent telephone conversation with theDaily NK, an inside source from South Hamgyong Province said, “Similar to lastyear, over 150 fisherman went out into the East Sea but never returned. At theend of the year, if you include only those residents operating under SouthHamgyong’s People’s Committee and local Ministry of People’s Security (MPS, orNorth Korea’s equivalent of a police force) the Provincial SecurityBureau, the tally reaches 150. However, 100s more were likely sent fromprovinces like North Hamgyong and Kangwon.” Two sources in South Hamgyong Province aswell as an informant in Kangwon Province verified these claims. According to accident reports andinvestigations, the majority of those who perished embarked on small, 8-12horsepower (dangerously low for use on the open ocean) wooden boats , duringsquid season (beginning around June) and sailfin sandfish season (inNovember-December). The majority of the sunken vessels were not produced byexpert shipbuilders in factories, but were instead small boats assembledawkwardly by individual carpenters. As residents in regions abutting the EastSea do not have a regular income to rely on, the source explained, they aretherefore forced to brave the rough conditions in order to feed their familiesby proactively fishing during the squid and sailfin sandfish seasons. But thefisherman’s small crafts and unreliable engines are no match for the ocean’smighty squalls. For this reason, many of the fisherman who go out to earn fortheir family never return to shore. “When the fishing season kicks off, seasidefamilies are known to invest their savings and even put a lien on their housein order to buy a wooden ship and fishing equipment.They buysmall, 8-12 horsepower engines manufactured in China, but usually do not haveradios or other communications equipment onboard,” he said. “They are then forced by the authorities togo out for dozens of days. It is no wonder then when scores of the vesselsbreak down or sink in the midst of an operation, standing their operators.” Just last month, he went on to add, countless families of fisherman from Sinpo, Danchon, Kim Chaek, and Chongjinwere “waiting anxiously for husbands and fathers who never returned from theirvoyages. Although the authorities have heard countless iterations of saidstories over the past few years, “they have not prepared any policies toprevent such accidents or rescue the sailors.” Furthermore, the State Security Departmentand Ministry of People’s Security branches in the relevant districts are not offeringcondolences or outlining a clear policy but are instead investigating theaccidents by probing family members to confirm whether their deceased relativeactually made the trip out to sea. In fact, as previously reported by Daily NK,authorities have gone as far as to force a grieving family to sign a documentto ensure they will not commit suicide in order to escape the debt caused bytheir relative’s demise at sea. According to Daily NK’s sources, this practiceis currently still in full effect.When asked about how residents areresponding to the news, the source said, “Residents are upset because theauthorities have shown a willingness to sit by and watch normal people die indroves without lifting a finger. Some residents are expressing frank criticismabout state propaganda announcing ‘a bumper year for seafood’ by declaring it a‘bumper year for missing persons.’ They also argue that if it is truly a bumperyear, then the authorities should invest in a more active coast guard with thecapacity to rescue the beleaguered sailors.” According to the Japanese media, over 14North Korean vessels containing 31 dead bodies have drifted onto the Japanesecoast over the past two months. NewsEconomy By Choi Song Min – 2016.01.06 4:01pm North Korea Market Price Update: June 8, 2021 (Rice and USD Exchange Rate Only) last_img read more