Japanese 'ghost ship' sunk by US Coast Guard

The Japanese ship was set adrift during last year's tsunami.
The Japanese ship was set adrift during last year's tsunami. Photo: Press Association

The US Coast Guard said a Japanese vessel set adrift by last year's tsunami has sunk in the Gulf of Alaska, ending its long, lonely voyage across the Pacific Ocean.

The US Coast Guard used cannon fire to sink the ship.
The US Coast Guard used cannon fire to sink the ship. Credit: Press Association

Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow in Juneau said the ship sank about four hours after a Coast Guard cutter unleashed cannon fire at the abandoned 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru.

It burst into flames and took on water, and after a few hours, the cutter fired larger ammunition to finish the job.

The ship has been drifting since last year.
The ship has been drifting since last year. Credit: Press Association

The Japanese ship was dislodged by last year's tsunami. It was destined for scrapping when the Japan earthquake struck.

The US Coast Guard sank the ship for safety reasons.
The US Coast Guard sank the ship for safety reasons. Credit: Press Association

The Coast Guard decided to sink it, rather than risk the chance of it running aground or endangering other vessels.