Canada's Department of National Defence photograph of a Japanese fishing vessel off the coast of British Columbia
Canada's Department of National Defence photograph shows a Japanese fishing vessel, which is believed have been lost as a result of last year's tsunami, that was sighted drifting 150 nautical miles of the southern coast of Haida Gwaii off the coast of British Columbia, March 20, 2012. According to Department of National Defence, the vessel is considered an obstruction to navigation, and a Notice to Shipping has been issued by the Canadian Coast Guard. The Department of National Defence confirmed that close visual aerial inspection and hails to the ship indicate there is no one on board.

A 150-foot marine ship from Japan used for catching squids was found drifting in the Pacific Ocean, 140 nautical miles (260 km) from Cape Saint James, on the southern tip of Haida Gwaii in western Canada. The ship was spotted on 20 March.

"It's been drifting across the Pacific for a year, so it's pretty beat up," said marine search coordinator Jeff Olsson of Victoria's Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, according to the Vancouver Post.

Olsson added that the ship was discovered by patrolling aircraft and did not pose any environmental danger. He confirmed there were no bodies found on the ship and that the vessel had drifted from Hokkaido, Japan, along with huge quantities of debris that was swept into the ocean when the tsunami hit Japan's coast.

The Canadian Coast Guard has issued a notice to all vessels that the ship is an obstruction to navigation.

The ship - the first, and the largest, item confirmed to have crossed the Pacific Ocean to North America from Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, 2011 - was confirmed lost by Japanese officials, reported the National Post.

British Columbia and US states Washington, Oregon and California have signed an agreement to jointly oversee operations to clear tsunami debris from Japan as soon as it hits the coast. They plan to return all finds holding sentimental value for Japan.

The Japanese fishing boat that was found this week is not expected to reach landfall for another 50 days, said a media statement by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, who has a special interest in marine issues, reported the AFP.

The ship's owner has been informed about the find, said a spokesperson of Canadian Coast Guards.