The US Coast Guard is continuing an operation to sink a Japanese fishing vessel.  Named Ryou-Un Maru, the vessel was first seen adrift in Canadian waters more than a week ago but reached American waters on April 1.

The vessel is presumed to have been set adrift following last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan.  No-one is on board the ship and it has been considered to pose a threat to others navigating the waters.  It was also determined that the ship could not be towed or salvaged safely.

During the operation to sink the vessel, the US Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa, a 110-foot patrol boat is being used.  It was explained during an interview on Five Live on Thursday night that holes would be shot into it causing the ships gradual sinking.

Commenting in a news release, Captain Daniel Travers, Coast Guard District 17, Chief of Incident Management, said:

“Once the fishing vessel Bernice C is safely out of the area, we will continue with our operation to sink the hazard to navigation.”

“Our primary goal is to ensure the safety of this operation and all mariners.”

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules located the Japanese shipping vessel as it sailed unmanned 170 nautical miles southwest of Sitka in the Gulf of Alaska, a press release from the US Coastguard states.

Commenting in an earlier news release before the operation to sink the vessel began, Captain Daniel Travers said:

“The unlit and unmanned vessel, which was originally being monitored by Canadian authorities, is now drifting through high traffic shipping lanes in U.S. waters and has become a potential threat to mariners.”

“We are tracking the vessel and working with federal, state and local agencies to ensure the safety of the maritime transportation system and the marine environment.”


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