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Coast Guard to sink "Ghost Ship."

posted 5 Apr 2012, 18:28 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 5 Apr 2012, 18:28 ]

The U.S. Coast Guard plans to sink the derelict Japanese fishing vessel, the Ryou-Un Maru, which was damaged by last year's tsunami and drifted across the Pacific into American waters.

AT SEA OFF ALASKA COAST (APRIL 4, 2012) (COAST GUARD HANDOUT) - The U.S. Coast Guard will sink a derelict Japanese fishing vessel on Thursday (April 5) after the unmanned ship drifted into American territorial waters off Alaska.

The unmanned Ryou-Un Maru is adrift approximately 170 nautical miles (314.8 kilometers) southwest of Sitka. The rust stained trawler is part of a massive debris field cast out into the Pacific Ocean by the devastating tsunami that hit Japan following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011.

The Coast Guard considers the ship a hazard to navigation and has warned mariners about the Ryou-Un Maru's presence in shipping lanes. It sent an aircraft on a flyer on Wednesday to drop a marker buoy over the vessel's location.

The 110-ft (33.528 meters) CG Patrol Boat Anacapa was sent out to assess the Ryou-Un Maru condition and if conditions allow, the crew will attempt to sink it with the Anacapa's 25-millimeter gun.

On March 20, Canada's transport department first spotted the unmanned fishing trawler off the coast of British Columbia. The Ryou-Un Maru drifted into U.S. waters on April 1.

The arrival of the ship marked the first site of an estimated 1.5 million tons of debris left by the tsunami still floating in the Pacific and heading towards North America.