That Japanese “ghost ship” that was set adrift by last year’s massive tsunami has finally been laid to rest.
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter opened fire on the vessel yesterday, sinking it off of the Alaskan coast in waters more than 6,000 feet deep.
A thick column of smoke could be seen billowing from the Ryou-Un Maru as the Coast Guard began its assault. It took roughly four hours for the ship to go under, according to Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow.
Last year’s devastating tsunami swept about 5 million tons of debris out to sea, and much of it continues washing up on shores throughout the Pacific Ocean.
The waves created after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake tore the Ryou-Un Maru from its moorings in Hokkaido, Japan.
The former shrimping vessel had been designated for scrapping and no longer had a functioning communication system or lights of any kind. Sometimes, the vessel moved along at speeds as slow as one mile per hour.
After mulling over what to do with the abandoned ship, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency ultimately decided it would be best to sink the ship and let any fuel dissipate in the water.
“It’s less risky than it would be running into shore or running into [maritime] traffic,” said Coast Guard spokesman Paul Webb.
More in the video below.
- Coast Guard cannon fire sinks Japanese ghost ship (newsok.com)
- U.S. sinks Japanese ghost ship drifting since tsunami (ctv.ca)
- Coast Guard Sinks Japanese ‘Ghost Ship’ Set Adrift By Tsunami (npr.org)
- Coast Guard cannon fire sinks Japanese ghost ship (photoblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- Coast Guard Sinks Tsunami ‘Ghost Ship’ (myfoxorlando.com)