News

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.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
 Previous   Next 
by: Ken
April 06, 2012 7:34 AM
Wouldn't it be more valuable to us not to send all our precious metals to the bottom of the sea but to just take that boat and salvage the resources from it?

by: Chris
April 06, 2012 7:33 AM
If it had no fuel left on board, then why was it burning so furiously?

by: Jason Tweed
April 06, 2012 7:31 AM
Ted is right. Not all of the fuel will evaporate, but it will dissipate in deep water more quickly. It's a bigger hazard if it runs aground or worse, collides with a bigger ship. It's not actually a large environmental risk because the ship was already prepped for disassembly. It has very little fuel, and no cargo. The Coast Guard is doing the right thing. I've researched the problem. Ironically, sunken ships make great habitats in the long run. It will probably help the environment long-term.

by: Denny
April 06, 2012 7:31 AM
@Ted - Diesel fuel can and does evaporate. As long as it is not under pressure it will evaporate. The boat has been adrift and had near empty fuel tanks and thus it has had most of it's fuel evaporate. If any fuel were to leak it would be minamal and when it reached the service it would evaporate due to the small quanitites.

by: P
April 06, 2012 7:29 AM
Diesel fuel (and gasoline) does evaporate. It's not as fast as rubbing alcohol, but over a year, yeah it's likely gone or to the point where it doesn't matter. More fuel is spilled refueling ships in a day than what (if anything) was left on that ship.

by: Martin Vandeer
April 06, 2012 7:26 AM
Ted, do your homework before you post please. You only make yourself seem uneducated and spread falsehoods.

by: Wil
April 06, 2012 7:26 AM
Looks like they should have called in the real military to sink it.

by: Tim
April 06, 2012 7:24 AM
Give me a break Ted. One fishing boat sunk in an endless sea. More likely it will provide as an artificial reef for countless sea animals.

by: James
April 06, 2012 7:24 AM
@Ted: Poor grammar and spelling. Depending on the type of diesel fuel, it may have evaporated. Also rubbing alcohol doesn't boil until about 181 Fahrenheit.

I wonder if the Coast Guard or Canadians boarded the vessel to see how much fuel, if any was on board.

by: GREG
April 06, 2012 7:22 AM
I wonder if the coasties would be so magnanimous if my diesel-powered yacht sunk in it's slip. If I hadn't used it for a year could I argue the fuel had evaporated? I don't think so. I feel sure I would have a big fine and be responsible for the cost of cleanup.
Comments page of 3
 Previous   Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs