A US Coast Guard cutter used cannon fire Thursday to sink a Japanese fishing vessel that got washed out to sea by the March 11 tsunami. The Ryou-Un Maru was sunken 180 miles west of the US and Canadian borders off Southeast Alaskan coast.
The Coast Guard cutter Anacapa crew sank the ship in the Gulf of Alaska as it was located in the busy shipping lanes and could pose potential hazards to maritime transportation system, said Capt. Daniel Travers, D17 chief of incident management in a statement.
The Coast Guard officers dropped a self-locating data marker buoy near the ship to provide essential position updates for Coast Guard command personnel to ensure the safety of maritime transportation operations in the area.
The crew members then fired explosive ammunition at the Japanese vessel and doused it with water in a bid to sink it.
Since the ship presumably had little fuel that would not have helped it come ashore, the Coast Guard was also mitigating any threats to the environment.
Though the potential for a pollution incident could not be found, the ship was still sunk considering the biological threats due to the length of time the vessel was at sea.
The derelict fishing vessel was drifting unmanned at sea, presumably since the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and subsequent tsunami which occurred more than a year ago, the Coast Guard said.
The officials said that the unmanned vessel, dubbed as the ghost ship, entered US waters March 31 from Forrester Island in southeast Alaska. However, it was sighted by the Canadian coast guard more than a week earlier in Canadian waters.
The US Coast Guard planned to sink the unmanned Japanese vessel earlier but the scheduled operation was delayed due to a Canadian fishing vessel Bernice C operating in the vicinity of the Ryou-Un Maru. As Bernice C was safely out of the area, Ryou-Un Maru was sunk, Capt. Daniel Travers added.
Have a look at the live fire exercise by the US Coast Guard cutter crew.
The unmanned Japanese fishing vessel, Ryou-un Maru, drifts northwest approximately 164 miles southwest of Baranof Island, in the Gulf of Alaska, in this U.S. Coast Guard handout photo from April 4, 2012. Reuters
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa crew douses the adrift Japanese vessel "Ryou-Un Maru" with water after a gunnery exercise, 180 miles (about 290 km) west of the Southeast Alaskan coast April 5, 2012. Reuters
Japanese fishing vessel "Ryou-Un Maru" burns after U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa crew fired explosive ammunition at the vessel, 180 miles (about 290 km) west of the Southeast Alaskan coast April 5, 2012. Reuters
The unmanned Japanese fishing vessel, Ryou-un Maru, drifts northwest approximately 164 miles southwest of Baranof Island, in the Gulf of Alaska, in this U.S. Coast Guard handout photo from April 4, 2012. REUTERS
Petty Officer 2nd Class Manuel Izquierdo (L) and Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Kelly look on after dropping a self locating data marker buoy, near the Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-un Maru, in the Gulf of Alaska in this U.S. Coast Guard handout photo, April 4, 2012. REUTERS