Japan Coast Guard officials weren't monkeying around when they were called to capture a mischievous Japanese macaque that found its way onto a ship about to leave port here.
The 1,798-ton cargo vessel was about to leave Uchiura Port in Takahama on Sept. 27, heading to Vladivostok, Russia, when the monkey was spotted. Coast guard members who were called to the rescue eventually captured the monkey, but remained surprised.
"It's the first time we've had a stowaway like this," a coast guard representative said.
A marine safety station operated by the 8th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters received a report through a local shipping agency at about 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 27, saying that a monkey had found its way aboard and was running about the ship, preventing it from departing.
The macaque was chased into a compass control room below the upper deck and three coast guard officers used equipment, including shields and a net, to capture it shortly after 3 p.m. No injuries were suffered on either side.
The sex and age of the monkey remained unknown. Soon after being captured, it was reportedly released into the mountains nearby.
There is a protective fence around the port, and it remains unclear how the monkey made its way onto the ship, but coast guard officials were glad to have captured it.
"We've never heard of a monkey being captured by coast guard officers. It's a good thing it was found before they left," a relieved official said.