A crew member of a squid fishing boat that caught fire in a port in northeastern Japan was missing, the Japan Coast Guard was quoted by local media as reporting on Thursday.
According to the reports, a fire broke out on the 14-ton fishing boat with firefighters receiving an emergency call at around 10:10 a.m. local time.
The call came from the port in Akita along the Sea of Japan, the reports said, with the fire on the boat believed to have caused it to explode, being extinguished after more than an hour.
Authorities said the explosion of the fishing boat, which belongs to a fishery cooperative in Aomori Prefecture, next to Akita Prefecture, is thought to have caused two other ships in the vicinity to catch fire.
The captain of the ship said the vessel had not been out to sea for a couple of days due to inclement weather, authorities quoted him as saying, adding that the missing crew member had been staying overnight on the boat.
Eyewitnesses were quoted by local media as saying they heard a loud explosion followed by seeing black smoke billowing. After that, multiple explosions were heard.