The Japanese rescue ship Shirakami is towing the Russian trawler Safil-1 towards the Russian island of Sakhalin. Going to meet the Shirakami is the Russian rescue vessel Atlas, which also put out to sea in search of the Safil-1 on the morning of December 28. The ships are expected to meet in several hours' time. Rescuers of the Japanese town of Otaru decided to tow out the foreign ship, totally gutted by a fire, because of an ecological threat to the coastal zone of Hokkaido, the northern Japanese island. The fire on the Safil-1 broke out on the night of December 27. Rescue was carried out by Russian ships, with Japanese patrol vessels standing by. All 26 crew members were taken aboard the motor ship Dmitry Peskov to the port of Korsakov in southern Sakhalin.