TOKYO, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese coast guard said Tuesday that seven passengers were injured when a high-speed ferry collided with what was suspected to be a marine animal off Tsushima Island in southwestern Japan.
The "Venus jetfoil" operated by Kyushu Yusen was headed to Tsushima from Hakata Port in Fukuoka Prefecture, its operator and the coast guard confirmed.
The operator said there were 103 passengers on board when the accident occurred at around 12:45 p.m. local time (0345 GMT), and the captain of the ferry reported that he believed his vessel had struck something believed to be a marine animal.
Of the passengers, 7 sustained light injuries, officials said, and the damaged ship made its way to its destination unaided after a two-hour delay.
"I think the boat has hit some kind of sea creature," the captain told the coast guard, adding "the vessel's underside wing had been damaged in the collision."
The coast guard is continuing to investigate the case.
In January last year, eight people onboard a jetfoil were injured when it was hit by a "whale like" creature on its way from Busan in South Korea to Hakata in Fukuoka.
The areas the jetfoils operate in are known to be both homes, migrating routes and breeding grounds to different species of cetaceans, including whales, experts and mammalogists said.
Jetfoil is the name used for a fast-moving passenger-carrying water-jet-propelled hydrofoil, which glides above the water to cut down on drag and run on just its "foils" as the powerful engine lifts the aerodynamic hull out of the water.