US Coast Guard Sinks Japanese 'Ghost Ship'

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a plume of smoke rises from the derelict Japanese ship Ryou-Un Maru after it was hit by canon fire by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter in the Gulf of Alaska, April 5, 2012.
In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a plume of smoke rises from the derelict Japanese ship Ryou-Un Maru after it was hit by canon fire by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter in the Gulf of Alaska, April 5, 2012.

The U.S. Coast Guard has sunk an abandoned Japanese fishing boat off the coast of Alaska, more than a year after a tsunami sent it drifting aimlessly across the Pacific Ocean.

The 50-meter long Ryou-Un Mara went down Thursday in the Gulf of Alaska, hours after a Coast Guard vessel started shooting at it, setting fire to the so-called "ghost ship," which had no lights, crew or communications system.

The Coast Guard decided to sink the Ryou-Un Mara because it posed a significant danger to ships sailing in the area.  Officials say sinking the ship poses no risk to the environment and that any fuel on board would be evaporated by now.

The sinking operation was delayed when a Canadian fishing boat expressed interest in salvaging the Japanese boat. The Canadian ship eventually determined it could not tow the crippled vessel.

The Ryou-Un Mara is the largest piece of debris to drift into North American waters after last year's tsunami caused by a devastating earthquake off the Japanese coast.


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comments page of 3
by: Robert F. Dawson
April 07, 2012 2:00 PM
I wish someone could have helped the Canadian boat salvage it, but it might be better on the bottom as a fish haven. It looks like it still had it's anchers down. Maybe they could not lift them and needed extra wenches. It could have been cut up for scrap or with TLC, revitalized. No matter how bad it looked, the Japs usually have some decent stuff. I beg to differ on the invironmental part. I hope they got permission from the Crown.

by: John
April 06, 2012 4:36 PM
Typical Cowboy Yanks!

by: Funnybones
April 06, 2012 4:07 PM
Looks like a spy ship to me.

by: Allan
April 06, 2012 10:02 AM
As usual, we destroyed a ship that possibly could have been scrapped . Why couldn't our Coast Guard assist the Canadians in towing this ship? Our nation is so very very destructive! To protect our environment ,I know is important.

by: AllThatJazz
April 06, 2012 8:53 AM
I'm sure that the CG got lots of good training out of this.

by: danfinger
April 06, 2012 8:05 AM
"Truth": "uh yeah, the fuel evaporated. That's the ticket!"

Lieutenant Reality: "psst. Captain. We might could have a pretty good time firing our cannon at it!

Captain Triggerfinger: "Dang Lou! That's a great idea! Tell them canucks to get lost!"

by: Higgety Piggety
April 06, 2012 7:37 AM
Fuel oil in a tank does not "evaporate".

by: ron
April 06, 2012 7:36 AM
I agree -- However saying the fuel evaporated sounds more like something a ding bat editor -- rather than the coast gard would say . Thinking that it made it this far on its own without a crew after a huge wave leads me to think that it probably wasent as bad as it looked . No body wanted to deal with it --- perhaps this is how the japs are getting rid of there radiactive waist filling deralict fishing boats with it and sinking them out to sea and this one got forgotten about ?

by: Hecktor
April 06, 2012 7:36 AM
Ted, I am not a green activist nor do I care much for these things, but I agree, fuel does not 'evaporate' inside a fuel tank much the same way the fuel on the COSTA CONCORDIA would not have 'evaporated' had it been left alone. Also, that huge scrap of metal is thrown to the bottom of the ocean when I get fined for not recycling? BULL. Must we be lied to on EVERY occasion?

by: tom
April 06, 2012 7:34 AM
sometime the cheapest solution to handle a problem is not the best one available. this just looks like a bad idea, but I'm not the coast guard hopefully they have a good reason.
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