SEOUL, March 22 (UPI) -- A large piece of a North Korean fishing boat was found on a beach in South Korea.
The wreckage from what was identified as a North Korean trawler was found around 7:10 a.m. on Tuesday at a beach in Dokgot-ri, in the South Korean city of Seosan in South Chungcheong Province, Yonhap reported.
The wooden fragment measured about 4 meters long, had a width of about 1.5 meters, and included an inscription that read "Muchuri" – a marker that helped South Korean police and military identify it.
The boat had apparently drifted across the waters from the Muchu-ri area, located in the North Korean province of South Hwanghae, according to South Korea's joint investigation team.
The fragment appeared to be old and investigators said it's likely that the boat was non-motorized and dedicated to non-military use.
An official said South Korean military investigators tested out the fragment on the water, but it quickly began to sink, adding the boat was probably not occupied when it capsized at sea.
South Korean news service News 1 reported the wreckage could have been a part that broke away from a three-ton fishing boat, and that mildew and algae had spoiled the bottom of the trawler.
Similar boats with casualties on board were discovered off the coast of Japan in 2015.
Last year Japan's Coast Guard discovered a total of 16 boats of North Korean origin carrying 27 bodies. The cause of death onboard remains unknown.
The boats began appearing near Japan's coast on Oct. 27, when a boat with a Korean-language inscription turned up near Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan.