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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.