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US Coast Guard To Sink Tsunami 'Ghost Ship'

The US Coast Guard is preparing to sink a derelict Japanese fishing vessel set adrift by last year's tsunami, media reports citing officials said Thursday.

According to reports, Ryou-un Maru is to be sunk using a 25 mm cannon on board the Anacapa gunnery ship of the 17th US Coast Guard. The Anacapa has been shadowing the 'ghost ship' since Wednesday.

According to the Coast Guard, Ryou-un Maru is currently some 170 nautical miles south-west of Sitka, Alaska. The vessel is said to be drifting slowly along a a maritime transport corridor between the US and Canada.

The 200-feet-long Ryou-un Maru was first spotted off the coast of Canadian British Columbia on March 23. The vessel has been under the surveillance of the US Coast Guard since it entered US waters on April 1.

The Coast Guard had earlier warned that the fishing vessel, which does not have any lights, power or anyone on board, poses a threat to the environment as well as other ships and boats passing through the region.

Although some 8,000 liters of fuel will go down along with the stricken vessel when it is sunk, the Coast Guard believes that it will not have any environmental impact as the vessel is far enough from the shore.

Ryou-un Maru was moored at a harbor in Hachinohe, Japan, when it was set adrift by a devastating earthquake-triggered tsunami on March 11, 2011. Although the tsunami had generated over 25 million tonnes of debris, the fishing vessel is believed to be the first large-sized debris from the natural disaster to cross the Pacific.

by RTT Staff Writer

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