recently reported that a Japanese fishing vessel, "Ryou-Un Maru" which had been swept away by the tsunami which engulfed the east coast of Japan in March 2011 had been spotted adrift off the west coast of Canada.
The vessel had now drifted into the Gulf of Alaska, just over 240 km from land, and was posing a significant risk as it drifted into the shipping lanes.
, courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard shows them opening fire on the Japanese "ghost ship" in an attempt to sink the vessel, which could eventually have interfered with other ships.
The ship was more than 60 meters long and posed a significant risk to marine traffic.
In the video the Coast Guard cutter, "Anacapa" fires on the Japanese vessel. The initial salvo of 25mm explosive rounds set the ship alight, and it began to take on water and started to list slightly. A column of black smoke rose into the air.
Later in the afternoon, a second salvo was fired and 4 hours later the ship disappeared under the waves.
The operation was monitored by the Coast Guard C-130 plane crew.
Environmentalists have been concerned that the sinking of this vessel could cause serious environmental pollution, as apparently the ship had as much as 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel aboard. However, according to Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Atministration, any oil that does leak from the ship will be broken up and dispersed by the wind and waves before reaching the shore.
The Ryou-Un Maru
originated from Hokkaido, Japan and has been drifting since the tsunami caused by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake his Japan last year.