Update: Plan to sink vessel on hold

Ryou-un Maru

Vessel Ryou-un Maru as it enters U.S. waters on March 31. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Kodiak.

The US Coast Guard has put on hold a plan to sink that Japanese fishing vessel adrift at sea since last year’s tsunami.

Petty Officer David Moseley says another fishing vessel in the area is preventing the Coast Guard from sinking the Japanese ship.

“It still very well could be sunk, it’s just a matter of we need to address situation with that other vessel before we can proceed,” Moseley says.

The Petersburg-based Coast Guard cutter Anacapa arrived on scene last night (Wednesday) with the drifting Ryou-un Maru, now about 170-miles southwest of Sitka.

Moseley says the Anacapa is equipped with 25-calliber machine gun mounted to the bow, which would be used to try and sink the Japanese vessel.

After being spotted in Canadian waters last month, the Ryou-un Maru has been drifting in a northerly direction. It’s unclear how much fuel is on board the derelict ship. The ocean is about 36-hundred feet deep where it is drifting.

Moseley did not know how long it might take to proceed with the sinking operation.

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