Jeff Olsson of Victoria's Joint rescue coordination center says an airplane contracted by the government spotted the 50-foot-long vessel recently about 160 miles west of Haida Gwaii, slowly drifting toward shore.
The vessel has been identified as coming from Hokkaido, Japan. Olsson says no one is believed to be aboard and there's no environmental danger.
A maritime warning has been issued because the vessel could pose a navigational hazard.
About 5 million tons of debris were swept into the ocean in March 2011 when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.