Coast Guard Fires on Abandoned Japanese Ship

April 5, 2012 Updated: April 5, 2012

A rusty, abandoned ship that was left adrift after a massive earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan last year has reached near the coast of Alaska and firing began by the U.S. Coast Guard in a bid to sink it.

Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa fired on the Ryou-Un Maru with a 25-millimeter cannon, MSNBC reported late on Thursday.

A spokesperson with the Coast Guard, Kip Waldow, told the news agency that the drifting ship is a threat to shipping vessels in the region and could cause damage if it runs aground. However, firing on it, he added, is “a great way for them to put their skills to use.”

“There’s no crew on board, it doesn’t have any light … and it’s in a high volume shipping lane,” he added.

Spokesperson Paul Webb confirmed with The Associated Press that the Anacapa is in the process of sinking the Maru.

“It’s less risky than it would be running into shore or running into (maritime) traffic,” Webb said.