SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Coast Guard monitors derelict tsunami fishing vessel that has entered U.S. waters


April 04, 2012

(SitNews) - Coast Guard District 17 personnel continue to monitor a derelict Japanese fishing vessel that is currently drifting approximately 164 miles west of Baranof Island off the U.S. and Canadian border. The USGC announced the fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru poses a serious threat to the safe navigation of other vessel traffic in its vicinity.

The RYOU-UN MARU was sighted by the Canadian coast guard more than a week ago in Canadian waters. The vessel drifted into U.S. waters Saturday and is currently 180 miles west of the Dixon Entrance in Southeast Alaska. The fishing vessel has been drifting unmanned at sea, presumably since the 2011 Fukoshima earthquake and subsequent tsunami which occurred more than a year ago.

jpg Coast Guard monitors as derelict tsunami fishing vessel enters U.S. waters

Adrift fishing vessel from 2011 Fukoshima tsunami
The derelict Japanese fishing vessel RYOU-UN MARU drifts more than 125 miles from Forrester Island in southeast Alaska where it entered U.S. waters March 31, 2012. The fishing vessel has been drifting unmanned at sea since the 2011 Fukoshima earthquake and subsequent tsunami more than a year ago.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Kodiak.

An Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane conducted a flyover of the vessel on both Saturday and Monday to verify its location and deployed a data marker buoy into the water near the vessel to provide real time updates of the vessel’s location. Coast Guard District 17 is actively broadcasting the vessel’s current location to mariners to alert them about the navigation hazard.

Due to the vessel’s current location in the busy shipping lanes near the Dixon Entrance, the vessel is a potential hazard to navigation. The potential for a pollution incident is unknown at this time but officials have limited concerns about any biological threats due to the length of time the vessel has been at sea.

“The unlit and unmanned vessel, which was originally being monitored by Canadian authorities, is now drifting through high traffic shipping lanes in U.S. waters and has become a potential threat to mariners,” said Capt. Daniel Travers, D17 chief of incident management. We are tracking the vessel and working with federal, state and local agencies to ensure the safety of the maritime transportation system and the marine environment.”

The Coast Guard is evaluating several courses of action to mitigate any threats to the maritime transportation system and the environment.

A Coast Guard cutter was being deployed Monday to assess the situation and the condition of the vessel and plans on conducting an overflight of the drifting derelict Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru, Thursday at 4:30 a.m. with media aboard.

"The Coast Guard has the primary responsibility for response to maritime threats, including hazards to navigation," said Capt. Daniel Travers, Coast Guard District 17 Chief of Incident Management. "This unmanned vessel poses an imminent threat to mariners and the environment. We are coordinating with our federal, state, local and tribal partners to monitor the vessel and to develop an appropriate plan to mitigate the threat to safe navigation."


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews



Source of News: 



E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter in SitNews         Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2012
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.