At night the dark and derelict fishing vessel, adrift since last year's Japanese tsunami, posed a serious navigation hazard for the busy shipping waters in the Gulf of Alaska. The ghost ship had to go. A Canadian ship wanted to salvage the Ryou-un Maru, but failed in attempts to secure a tow.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa then claimed the chase, mounted their cannons, 25 mm shots of high-explosive ammunition, and with a slow and steady assault made target practice out of the some 200-foot gift to Neptune.
The stricken vessel took about four hours to sink below the surface, reported Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow. Where the ship sank, about 180 miles west of the southeast Alaska coast, Davy Jones' locker is about 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) deep.
Photo: A plume of smoke rises from the derelict Japanese ship Ryou-Un Maru after it was hit by cannon fire by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa. Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Charly H, U.S. Coast Guard.