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US sinks Japanese tsunami ship

The US Coast Guard said a Japanese vessel set adrift by last year's tsunami has sunk in the Gulf of Alaska, ending its long, lonely voyage across the Pacific Ocean.

Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow in Juneau said the ship sank about four hours after a Coast Guard cutter unleashed cannon fire at the abandoned 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru.

It burst into flames and took on water, and after a few hours, the cutter fired larger ammunition to finish the job.

The Japanese ship was dislodged by last year's tsunami. It was destined for scrapping when the Japan earthquake struck.

The Coast Guard decided to sink it, rather than risk the chance of it running aground or endangering other vessels.

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