North Korean soldiers reportedly did not shoot at the latest defector and no unusual movement of the North’s border troops was detected.
But, South Korean guards fired around 20 warning shots at North Korean troops searching for a defector who fled across the heavily militarised border between the two countries on Thursday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
This is the fourth defection from the hermit kingdom this year alone.
The soldier is understood to have defected across the land border which is separated by the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) – one of the most heavily guarded and fortified regions in the world.
The DMZ is littered with scores of mines and barbed-wire fences and is extremely difficult to cross.
About 1,000 people flee from the North to the South each year, but very few go via the DMZ.
The vessel was reportedly found in the East Sea – also known as the Sea of Japan – by a naval patrol plane.
The passengers said they wanted to defect from North Korea.
It comes after North Korean soldier Oh Chong Song escaped Kim Jong-un’s regime.
The soldier was shot multiple times by North Korean military as he made his way across the heavily fortified border.
He was airlifted to freedom by a US Black Hawk helicopter, coming close to death during the long ride to hospital.
Suh Uk, a South Korean military official, said: “Until this morning, we heard he had no consciousness and was unable to breathe on his own but his life can be saved.”
Video obtained by CNN shows 10-inch parasites were removed from his body, as well as bullets.
It is believed all border guards have been replaced at the border in a huge security overhaul after the incident.