Skip to main content

VIDEO: Coast Guard scuttles ghost ship

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Anacapa fired volleys of explosive ammunition at the Ryou-Un Maru, ending the voyage of the ghost ship that drifted across the Pacific after the tsunami in Japan more than a year ago.

The Coast Guard sank the unmanned and unlit 164-foot fishing vessel April 5 about 180 miles west of Sitka, Alaska.

“For the safety of mariners, sinking the vessel was the quickest way to properly address the danger this unattended vessel posed,” says Capt. Daniel Travers, incident manager for Coast Guard District 17.

The Coast Guard worked with federal, state and local agencies to determine that scuttling the Ryou-Un Maru would best minimize navigational and environmental threats.

Click here for a news report on the operation.

The Anacapa crew began its operation about 1 p.m. and fired two gunnery evolutions — 25mm and 50mm — into the ship until it sank in 6,072 feet at 6:15 p.m.

Light sheening and minimal debris were reported. The sheening was expected to quickly dissipate at sea.

The master of a 63-foot Canadian commercial fishing vessel had expressed interest in salvaging the Ryou-Un Maru but abandoned that plan after deeming the derelict unsafe to salvage or tow, according to the Coast Guard.

Click here for a series of photos on that shows the ship going down.