Japanese ship swept away in tsunami drifts toward Alaska

Japanese ship swept away in tsunami drifts toward Alaska

Credit: CNN / Government of Canada

On March 20, a Japanese fishing vessel, which was lost as a result of last year’s tsunami, was sighted drifting 150 nautical miles of the southern coast of Haida Gwaii by the crew of an aircraft on a routine surveillance patrol.

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by KING 5 News, Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on April 2, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 3 at 3:45 PM

SEATTLE -- A squid fishing ship dragged out to sea by the catastrophic tsunami that hit Japan last year is now slowly drifting toward Alaska.

Canadian authorities caught the first glimpse of the ship last month, located about 120 nautical miles from Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands).

The ship is heading in the direction of the southeast Alaska town of Sitka 170 miles to the north, traveling at about one mile per hour, Coast Guard spokesman David Mosley said.

"Our main concern is maritime traffic," he said. "We're trying to minimize any safety concerns, alerting vessels. We don't want any vessels to run into it."

A Coast Guard C-130 was heading to the ship Monday to pinpoint the exact location and check if a data buoy was successfully dropped on it Saturday.

Watch USCG video of buoy dropped near ship - click here

The ship was identified as being from the Japanese port city of Hachinohe in Aomori prefecture. Japanese officials said no one was on board when it was swept away.

A UW professor said last week he believes ocean currents are likely to carry smaller debris from the earthquake and tsunami to Washington, while larger debris is predicted to drift either north or south.

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