US Coast Guard fires on and sinks tsunami ghost ship
Apr 6, 2012, 5:13 GMT
San Francisco - The US Coast Guard fired heavy artillery and sank a fishing trawler set adrift more than a year ago by Japan's tsunami because it posed a danger to shipping, news reports said.
The 60-metre Ryou-un Maru sank Thursday in the Gulf of Alaska, 300 kilometres off the coast of the US state.
The trawler caught fire, took on water and capsized after the cutter Anacapa fired its 25mm cannons at the drifting, unmanned vessel, Petty Officer David Moseley told msnbc.com.
Coast guard spokesman Kip Wadlow told the news channel that the ghost ship was a danger to shipping traffic.
'There's no crew on board, it doesn't have any light ... and it's in a high-volume shipping lane,' Wadlow said.
It broke free of its moorings in Hachinohe, Japan, during the tsunami caused by a magnitude-9 earthquake that rocked Japan March 11, 2011.
The ship was assumed to have drifted across the Pacific Ocean and was spotted at the end of last month 200 kilometres from the coast of the western Canadian province of British Columbia. It entered US waters Sunday.
It is part of a debris field floating in the Pacific since the tsunami. Some debris has already washed up on US and Canadian shores, and more was expected.
The sinking of the Ryou-un Maru was undertaken after its owner said it did not want the ship and the coast guard determined it would not pose an environmental danger, Wadlow said.
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