The South Korean coast guard found another North Korean boat adrift in its waters with eight crewmen on board, officials said.
The boat was found near Ulleung Island, in the Sea of Japan, a little after midday on Friday and all members of the crew expressed their wish to return to their country, said the Unification Ministry announced Monday.
The boat is to be repaired by South Korean authorities, after which the crewmen are expected to be allowed to return home in the same vessel, Efe news reported.
South Korea has rescued five North Korean vessels that went adrift so far this year, with a total of 21 people on board, only two of whom have expressed their wish to desert and not return to their country.
Most of these boats are involved in fishing and go adrift because of engine problems or lack of fuel.
Several experts believe that the increase in North Korean boats going adrift could be a result of the Kim Jong-un regime’s attempts at getting a bigger catch, forcing vessels further into the sea.
North Korea and South Korea are technically still at war, as the Korean conflict (1950-53) was concluded with an armistice and not a peace treaty.