Kodiak (US): The US Coast Guard plans to use
explosives to sink a derelict Japanese ship dislodged by last
year's massive tsunami.
The shrimping vessel, which has no lights or
communications systems, was floating about 314 kilometres
south of Sitka in the Gulf of Alaska today morning, travelling
about 1.61 kilometres per hour.
The ship holds more than 7,500 liters of diesel fuel, and
authorities are concerned it could interfere with the course
of other vessels as it drifts through shipping lanes. A Coast
Guard cutter was headed out to the ship today with plans to
use high explosive rounds to sink the vessel.
If left to drift, the ship would ground somewhere, said
Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Charley Hengen.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and
the Environmental Protection Agency studied the problem and
decided it is safer to sink the ship and let the fuel
evaporate in the open water.
The Coast Guard is warning other ships to avoid the area.
The vessel, named Ryou-Un Maru, is believed to be 45 meters to
60 meters long. It has been adrift from Hokkaido, Japan, since
it was launched by the tsunami caused by the magnitude-9.0
earthquake that struck Japan last year. About 5 million tons
of debris were swept into the ocean by the tsunami.
The Japan earthquake triggered the world's worst nuclear
crisis since the Chernobyl accident in 1986, but Alaska state
health and environmental officials have said there's little
need to be worried that debris landing on Alaska shores will
be contaminated by radiation.
First Published: Friday, April 06, 2012, 00:17