Canadian fishermen claim rights to Japanese ship

MARK THIESSEN RACHEL D'ORO Associated Press Published:

OVER THE GULF OF ALASKA (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says that a Canadian fishing vessel has claimed salvage rights to the Japanese ghost ship that was dislodged and set adrift by last year's tsunami.

Spokesman Paul Webb says the Coast Guard will hold off on its planned sinking Thursday of the abandoned 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru until the 62-foot Bernice C arrives.

Webb says if the Canadians are unable to tow the ship, the Coast Guard will sink it as planned.

The Japanese ship was destined for scrapping when the Japan earthquake struck, so there is no cargo on board, officials said.

The Coast Guard decided to sink it, rather than risk that it will run aground.