GULF OF ALASKA -Petty Officer 2nd Class Manuel Izquierdo (left), an aviation maintenance technician with Air Station Kodiak, acts as a safety observer while Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Kelly (right), also an aviation maintenance technician with Air Station Kodiak, prepares to drop a self locating data marker buoy from the ramp of a Kodiak-based HC-130 Hercules airplane airborne over the Gulf of Alaska April 4, 2012. The buoy will allow the Coast Guard to continue to track the unmanned and unlit Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru as it drifts northwest. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.
SITKA, Alaska, April 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says it has sent a ship to sink a Japanese fishing vessel that swept away during the tsunami last year and recently showed up near Alaska.
The Coast Guard's ship was to assess the condition of the fishing boat, named the Ryou-Un Maru, as it is considered a hazard to navigation in the area, CNN reported.
Early Thursday, the boat was about 170 nautical miles southwest of Sitka, Alaska, the Coast Guard said.
If the assessment is satisfactory, the Coast Guard ship will fire at the Japanese vessel with a 25-millimeter cannon, said Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow.
The 177-foot boat was identified by the Japanese coast guard as being owned by Canadian contractors and used for squid fishing before it was blown free of its moorings.
It was docked at Hachinohe in the Aomori prefecture when the tsunami hit, Japanese officials said.
The Japanese boat is part of a giant debris field in the Pacific Ocean created by the tsunami that struck northeastern Japan following a 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011.
Thousands of people were killed during the tsunami and huge amounts of materials, including cars and houses, were carried into the ocean, the report said.