6 Apr 2012

US Coast Guard sinks drifting 'ghost ship'

5:42 pm on 6 April 2012

The United States Coast Guard has used cannon to sink a crewless Japanese ship that drifted to Alaska following a tsunami last year.

The coast guard earlier said they would hold off scuttling the Ryou-Un Maru after a Canadian fishing boat claimed salvage rights.

But a Canadian official later said that the Bernice C had been unable to tow the 61-metre Japanese "ghost ship".

The boat had no lights or power and was viewed as a danger to other ships, the BBC reports.

It was thought to be at the head of a stream of debris that has been drifting east since a massive earthquake sparked the devastating tsunami in Japan on 11 March last year.

The Ryou-Un Maru was first spotted off the coast of Canadian British Columbia on 23 March this year.

The vessel was moving at about 1km/h in a maritime transport corridor that separates US and Canadian waters.

It was adrift about 195 miles from Sitka, Alaska, when it was sunk, officials said.