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Coast Guard sinks 'ghost' Japanese vessel

April 6, 2012 at 1:16 AM   |   Comments

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska, April 6 (UPI) -- A Japanese fishing vessel that had been drifting across the Pacific since last year's tsunami was sunk Thursday off Alaska by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials said the Coast Guard worked with the U.S. Geological Survey to select a place where sinking the ship would do little environmental damage, CNN reported.

"The potential for a pollution incident is unknown at this time, but officials have limited concerns about any biological threats due to the length of time the vessel has been at sea," a Coast Guard statement said.

The Ryou-Un Maru, a trawler used for squid fishing, was anchored at Hachinohe in northern Honshu when the 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck the island March 11, 2011, followed by a devastating tsunami. That started the vessel on its last voyage with other debris.

A Canadian military plane spotted the ship last month off British Columbia. It drifted into U.S. waters Saturday.

The Ryou-Un Maru began taking on water after the Coast Guard set fire to it at about 1 p.m.

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