Fishing boat scuttled to the ocean floor

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Fishing boat scuttled to the ocean floor

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A fishing boat came under fire off the Alaskan coast from repeated machine gun blasts by a US coastguard cutter. The Japanese vessel which has been adrift for over a year was engulfed in smoke and sank to the bottom of the ocean.

The Ryou-Un Maru was a ghost ship, drifting east swept away by last years Tsunami. Within the rusting hull its thought there was more than 2,000 gallons of diesel.

The boat had no lights or power and experts say the vessel had become a hazard as it drifted towards busy navigational lanes used by cargo ships plying the waters of the route between North America and Asia. Sinking it they say was the safest option.

The Ryou-Un Maru was among the 1.5 million tons of debris which the Japanese government estimates was dragged out to sea by the tsunami.