Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-un Maru

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Thomas

After surviving one the most devastating earthquake and tsunami ever recorded and a full year unmanned and adrift on the world’s largest ocean, the Ryou-Un Maru, aka the Tsunami Ghost Ship, has finally met its demise at the hands of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The derelict squid fishing vessel-turned ghost ship was first spotted by the Canadian coast guard more than a week ago drifting in Canadian waters off the coast of British Columbia. From there, the vessel slowly made its way into U.S. waters on Saturday where she was deemed by the USCG to pose to great a threat to navigation that something had to be done.

Wasting no time, the USCG dispatched the 110-foot cutter Anacapa, armed with a 25mm cannon, with orders to shoot-to-sink.

In the following image, Anacapa’s crew douses the adrift Japanese vessel with water after a gunnery exercise 180 miles west of the Southeast Alaskan coast April 5, 2012. The crew was successful and sank the vessel at 6:15 p.m. in 6,000 feet of water by using explosive ammunition and filling it with water.

japanese fishing vessel ghost ship

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Charly Hengen

The Ryou-Un Maru was set adrift via the massive tsunami that engulfed Japan’s northeastern coastline in March 2011.  An estimated 70% of the vessels sank close to shore, and the remaining debris is slowly drifting across the Pacific towards the U.S. west coast and Canada.

Here’s the video:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/39894143[/vimeo]

For more info on what’s out there, when it’s coming and what you can do to help, have a look at NOAA’s Marine Debris Program’s website.

The Tsunami Ghost Ship as seen on April 4, approximately 170 nautical miles southwest of Sitka, AK. Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis, USCG

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