Coast Guard plans to go ahead, sink Japanese ship

MARK THIESSEN RACHEL D'ORO Associated Press Published:

OVER THE GULF OF ALASKA (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says a Canadian fishing vessel will not tow a Japanese ghost ship that it claimed, and that the agency will go ahead with plans to sink the stricken boat.

Spokesman Paul Webb says a Coast Guard cutter will start firing its cannons on the abandoned 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru when the 62-foot Bernice C leaves the area, possibly within an hour.

The Bernice C had claimed salvage rights. A Canadian official with knowledge of the situation said the ship was unable to tow the other vessel.

The Japanese ship was dislodged by last year's tsunami and was destined for scrapping. The Coast Guard decided to sink it, rather than risk the chance of it running aground.

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Associated Press writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.