Entries in Fishing Boat (6)


US Coast Guard Sinks Japanese Ghost Ship

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- The U.S. Coast Guard fired its guns on a derelict Japanese fishing boat Thursday, sinking it to the bottom of the ocean after a Canadian ship decided it wasn’t worth towing for salvage.

The Coast Guard’s plans to sink the ship, which was set adrift by last year’s tsunami, were initially put off when the fishing ship Bernice C claimed salvage rights. Those rights were abandoned after an inspection showed the ship was not worth saving.

The Japanese ship, Ryou-Un Maru, floated across the Pacific Ocean after it was ripped from its moorings by the tsunami last March. It is floating roughly 195 miles south of Sitka in the Gulf of Alaska.

Japanese Coast Guard spokesman Masahiro Ichijou said the vessel belonged to a fishing company in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. It had been used for squid fishing before being put up for sale because of its advanced age. It has no lights or communication systems. Coast Guard officials decided to sink the ship amid fears that it could disrupt traffic as it drifted through shipping lanes, or spill fuel from its 2,000-gallon tank should it run aground.

The decision came after a review by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency determined the best course of action would be to sink the ship with cannons and let any fuel evaporate in the open water.

About 5 million tons of debris were swept into the ocean by the tsunami, which also triggered a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power plant. Alaska state health and environmental officials have said there’s little chance that debris landing on Alaska shores will be contaminated by radiation from the disaster.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Owner of Japanese Boat that Drifted to Canada Doesn't Want It Back

Sankei via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The owner of an empty Japanese fishing boat that drifted across the Pacific after being washed away by the powerful tsunami last year, says he does not want the boat back, according to a Japanese Coast Guard official.

The rusty, 150-foot vessel was spotted in Canadian waters last week, roughly 900 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Coast Guard spokesman Masahiro Ichijou said the vessel belonged to a fishing company in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island.

Officials contacted the 60-year-old owner in the city of Hakkodate, who said he cancelled the boat registration shortly after the disaster last March, thinking the vessel had been lost at sea, forever.

“Usually boat owners are not allowed to cancel registration until they properly dispose or dismantle it,” Ichijou said.  “But with the disaster last year, we made an exception.  This is an unprecedented case.”

According to local media reports, the 30-year-old vessel had been used for squid fishing in northern Japan years ago, but the owner put it up for sale, deciding it was too old.

It was docked in the Aomori Prefecture, unused, when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit the country on March 11, unleashing a catastrophic tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people.

The 150-ton boat was spotted nearly a year later on March 20, during a routine patrol by a Canadian Forces aircraft.

“The owner has said he is no longer responsible because he cancelled the registration, but that puts us in a bind,” Ichijou said.  “We have a boat with no owner, and we’re trying to determine how to move forward.”

Ichijou said standard practice requires countries where marine trash and debris are found, to pick up the cost for disposal.  However, with more than a million tons of debris drifting towards the U.S. and Canada, he said the government is treating the problem separately.  They have already set aside a budget to track and monitor the debris.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tsunami-Ravaged Japanese Fishing Vessel Spotted Near Vancouver

Sankei via Getty Images(VANCOUVER) -- Just over a year ago, a fishing boat was going about its business near Hokkaido, Japan, when an unimaginable disaster struck -- a giant earthquake followed by a horrific tsunami.

This past weekend, that same boat, now nicknamed a "ghost ship," was spotted about 160 miles off the coast of Vancouver.

The 150-foot freighter is the largest piece of debris to have reached the West Coast of North America since the tsunami that devastated a good portion of northeastern Japan.

No one is believed to be on board the fishing boat.  The Japanese government listed its owner as missing.

Canadian authorities don't consider the ship an environmental hazard although it could soon be washed ashore by a major storm.

The boat has also caught the attention of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, which anticipated that much of the millions of tons of tsunami debris wouldn't arrive in the U.S. until before next year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Search Continues for Missing Men after Boat Capsizes off Mexico

U.S. Coast Guard/Chief Petty Officer Scott Cowan(SAN FELIPE, Mexico) -- Search and rescue teams are scouring the Sea of Cortez by boat and helicopter in a continuing effort to locate the U.S. tourists who are still missing following the sinking of a charter boat off the coast of Mexico.

The U.S. Coast Guard told ABC News it will extend the search area for survivors along with the Mexican Navy. According to Petty Officer Pamela Boehland, the Coast Guard will use larger aircraft for their search efforts on Tuesday that are capable of covering greater distances. The USCG expects to be up in the air over the Sea of Cortez around 10:30a PST.

One man has been confirmed dead, and seven others are still missing -- among them six Americans and one Mexican crew member, according to Mexican officials.  The identity of the dead man has not been released, but he was an American.

The boat, carrying a total of 44 passengers and crew, capsized early Sunday when it was hit by two giant waves, according to Capt. Benjamin Pineda Gomez.  Twenty-seven Americans and 16 crew members were on board the 115-foot-catamaran, which was called the Erik and was operated by the tourism company Baja Fishing.

The vessel was supposed to take the group and crew on a week-long vacation -- an annual Fourth of July outing for a group of friends from Northern California -- but it was caught in a thunderstorm and capsized around 2:30 a.m., about 60 miles south of San Felipe.

The Mexican Navy says there was no mayday call, so for more than 12 hours no one was aware of the situation.  The Navy added that the ship's cook was instrumental in alerting authorities that the boat had gone down after being rescued by a fisherman.

The rescue operation also began after a second local fisherman spotted some survivors at sea.

"When the vessel sank it was close enough to shore that some people were able to swim to shore," said Boehland.  "Other people were picked up by good Samaritan vessels that were in the area.  Others were rescued by the Mexican Navy."

Among the rescued was American Lee Ikegami, who was on a fishing trip with his buddies.  Ikegami spoke to his wife from a hotel, where crews were taking the rescued.

"Somewhere around 10ish last night my husband called and said his boat capsized and that he is fine … I was in shock," Murphy Ikegami, Lee Ikegami's wife, told ABC News.

"All I know is at that time he was not in contact with any of his friends and didn't know how they were.  He was at one end of the boat and was thrown into the sea," she added.

Lee Ikegami says he still has no idea what happened to his friends.

U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana, Mexico released a statement saying their staff had met with all surviving Americans at a hotel in San Felipe and they were working with Mexican officials to provide return transportation back to the U.S. for the American survivors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fishing Tour Boat Capsizes Off Baja Peninsula, Calif.) -- One person is dead and at least seven others are missing after a chartered fishing boat capsized off Mexico's Baja California peninsula during a storm, authorities said Monday.

The roughly 100-foot-long boat, a catamaran called the Erik operated by the tourism company Baja Fishing, was carrying 44 people on board, including 27 Americans, when it was caught in a thunderstorm and capsized around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Pamela Boehland said from Alameda, Calif.

"When the vessel sank it was close enough to shore that some people were able to swim to shore," Boehland said. "Other people were picked up by good Samaritan vessels that were in the area. Others were rescued by the Mexican Navy."

The Mexican Navy says one American died in the tragic incident.

The U.S. Coast Guard, which is assisting the Mexican Navy, launched a helicopter from San Diego, Calif. to help search for the missing early Monday.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that staff from the U.S. Consulate General Tijuana Tijuana met with all of the surviving Americans, and that U.S. officials are working with Mexican officials to arrange for the surviving Americans to be transported back to the U.S.

According to an Internet advertisement, the Erik has been operating in the Sea of Cortez since 1989 and can sleep up to 42 guests.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tensions Between China and Japan Escalate Over Fishing Boat Captain

Image Courtesy: ABC News(BEIJING) -- Tensions continue to escalate between China and Japan over Japan's detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain.  As previously reported, the boating collision on Sept. 7 has already marred the relationship between both countries.

On Thursday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao issued a stern warning, stating, "If Japan clings to its course, China will take further action.  Tokyo bears all responsibility for the situation and it will bear all consequences."  Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshito Songoku, appealed for a calm dialogue. "We hope Japan and China will hold high-level talks as soon as possible to ease the diplomatic row," he told a press conference.

But there are now concerns that China is escalating the war of words, taking aim at Japan's economy. According to a report in the New York Times Thursday, China is halting shipments of rare-earth minerals to Japan. These vital minerals are used by Japan in high-tech products like hybrid cars and wind turbines.  China has denied any official trade embargo, but the mere hint of a halt in exports is likely to raise fears in Japan.

One Chinese company already announced it would a cancel a long-prepared trip of some 10,000 staff members to Japan in October in order "to stand on national dignity." The cancellation was expected to bring a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tourism between the two countries has also been affected, and in China millions have taken to the Internet calling for a boycott of Japanese goods.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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