Ghost Boat Off BC Coast

April 6, 2012 by staff 

Ghost Boat Off BC Coast, “It’s been drifting across the Pacific for a year, so it’s pretty beat up,” said marine search co-ordinator Jeff Olsson of Victoria’s Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre of the vessel. An unmanned Japanese fishing vessel that was cast adrift following last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami has likely seen its last day as the U.S. Coast Guard makes plans to sink the vessel as it nears the shores of Alaska.

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter vessel was en route to Japanese ship’s location Wednesday night and the rusted vessel could be sent to the bottom as early as Thursday.

“The plans are to utilize a Coast Guard cutter to get to the vessel [Wednesday], spend the night along side with the vessel, where [Thursday] they can assess its condition … and scuttle it at sea,” U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer David Mosley said Wednesday night. “Our cutters are armed and this vessel has got two different types of chain-gun systems onboard … and the intention is to utilize one of those systems to strategically put holes in the hull of the ship to cause it to sink.”

Mosley said weather and sea conditions could affect the timing of the operation, so no firm timetable has been established.

The Japanese vessel – named Ryou-Un Maru – was about 300 kilometres southwest of Sitka, Alaska, on Wednesday night.

Mosley said there was no intention for officials to board the Japanese ship because the structural integrity of that vessel cannot be verified and could pose an unnecessary risk should somebody board it.

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