US Sinks Tsunami Ghost Ship

Ship may hold more than 2K gallons of diesel
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2012 6:34 AM CDT
US Sinks Tsunami Ghost Ship
A plume of smoke rises from a derelict Japanese ship after it was hit by cannon fire by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter on Thursday, April 5, 2012, in the Gulf of Alaska.   (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Charly Hengen)

A Japanese derelict that's been aimlessly roaming the ocean since last year's tsunami has been sent to Davy Jones' Locker at last. A US Coast Guard cutter opened fire on the Ryou-Un Maru off the coast of Alaska yesterday with high explosive ammunition, setting it on fire and sending smoke billowing into the air, the AP reports. The ship disappeared beneath the waves four hours later. A Coast Guard cargo plane dropped a buoy to monitor potential pollution.

No one is sure precisely how much fuel was in the Ryou-Un Maru—its tank could hold more than 2,000 gallons of diesel—but officials downplayed the pollution risk. "It's less risky than it would be running into shore or running into traffic," a spokesman said. The ship was already slated to be scrapped when the tsunami set it adrift, so it had no cargo or crew. (More ghost ship stories.)

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