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Coast Guard fires on Japanese ghost ship

Associated Press
In a photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard the unmanned Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-un Maru dirfts northwest in the Gulf of Alaska approximately 164 miles southwest of Baranof Island Wednesday April 4, 2012.  The vessel has been adrift since it was launched by the tsunami caused by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that struck Japan last year.  The Coast Guard is monitoring the vessel, which is currently considered a hazard to navigation.  (AP Photo/Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis, U.S. Coast Guard)

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OVER THE GULF OF ALASKA (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says a Japanese vessel set adrift by last year's tsunami has sunk in the Gulf of Alaska, ending its long, lonely voyage across the Pacific Ocean.

Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow in Juneau says the ship sank about four hours after a Coast Guard cutter unleashed cannon fire at the abandoned 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru on Thursday. It burst into flames and took on water, and after a few hours, the cutter fired larger ammunition to finish the job.

The Japanese ship was dislodged by last year's tsunami. It was destined for scrapping when the Japan earthquake struck. The Coast Guard decided to sink it, rather than risk the chance of it running aground or endangering other vessels.

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