Disasters & Extreme Weather

Published on September 23rd, 2012 | by James Ayre


NOAA Confirms First Piece Of Known Tsunami Debris To Wash Up In Hawaii

September 23rd, 2012 by

The first piece of garbage from the 2011 Japan tsunami known to have washed up in Hawaii has now been confirmed by NOAA. The tsunami debris, a large blue bin used to transport seafood while keeping it cold, was spotted off Waimanalo, on the southeast coast of Oahu, by Makai Ocean Engineering staff. It was later retrieved by the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory.


Consular officials from Japan confirmed that the blue bin found earlier this week floating in the ocean is from Fukushima, said Ben Sherman, a NOAA spokesman in Washington, D.C.

“It’s the 12th confirmed piece to hit U.S. or Canada waters,” he said.

The 4-by-4-foot cube is inscribed with the name Y.K. Suisan Co. Ltd., the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said.

“Nikolai Maximenko, a University of Hawaii researcher and ocean currents expert who is studying the trajectory of the tsunami debris, said the bin’s arrival is consistent with his predictions for when the first pieces would get to Hawaii.”

“It came at the right time, according to our model,” he said. “But in some sense, it could just be a coincidence.”

Here’s more on the finding from Huffington Post:

“One million to 2 million tons of debris remain in the ocean, but only 1 to 5 percent of that could reach American and Canadian shorelines, Maximenko has said.

“Crabs and barnacles were found on the bin, the state said, along with five local seabirds. Two flew away and three were found dead inside the bin. There were no foreign plant or animal species in or on the bin, which state officials put in quarantine.

“Meanwhile, Hawaii fishermen spotted a large dock drifting toward Oahu that may also be tsunami debris. A Maui fisherman climbed on the dock and saw Japanese writing. The 30-feet by 50-feet dock was spotted Wednesday off Molokai, heading toward Oahu.

“The Coast Guard was notifying mariners of the debris.”

A massive 165-ton concrete dock that was torn loose from a Japanese fishing port washed up on an Oregon beach in June.

Source: Huffington Post and Wikipedia

Image Credits: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources; Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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