Coast Guard Sinks Castaway ‘Ghost Ship’

Apr 6, 2012

The U.S. Coast Guard has sunk a derelict Japanese fishing vessel off the coast of Alaska. The Ryou-un Maru has been adrift in the Pacific since last year’s tsunami in Japan.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Sara Francis says a cutter fired at the so-called “ghost ship” about 180 miles southwest of Sitka. “They’re firing on it with a 25-millimeter canon and explosive ordinance. It’s really big deck gun.”

Francis says the castaway ship posed a bigger risk to other vessels in the area than the wreckage did to the environment.

The Canadian Coast Guard first noticed the Japanese ship more than two weeks ago off the coast of British Columbia. Since then the vessel has drifted north. It entered U.S. waters on Saturday.

The Coast Guard says the vessel’s captain initially expressed interest in salvaging the ship, but decided against it after getting a close-up look.