x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Huge floating dock from Japanese tsunami washes up on US coast

A 20m dock is the thought to be the biggest flotsam to reach the other side of the Pacific Ocean, after following scuttled trawlers and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The Japanese consulate has confirmed that the dock washed ashore on Agate Beach in Oregon is debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.
The Japanese consulate has confirmed that the dock washed ashore on Agate Beach in Oregon is debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

PORTLAND, OREGON // A huge floating dock cast adrift by Japan's tsunami has washed up on an Oregon beach, believed to be the biggest pieces of flotsam to make landfall on the west coast of the United States so far.

The 20 metre long rectangular structure, made of concrete and metal, was spotted floating off the coast on Monday, and then washed in with the high tide on Agate beach, 160 kilometres south-west of Portland.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) contacted Japanese diplomats, who confirmed that it was from the March 11, 2011 tsunami, and had drifted the 8,850 kilometres across the Pacific over the last 15 months.

Hirofumi Murabayashi, the deputy consul general at Japan's consulate in Portland, said: "Four floating docks were washed away by the tsunami. This is one of them.

"The other three we don't know where they are, if they're floating somewhere or they sank in the ocean or not," he said.

Confirmation that the dock came from the tsunami came after Japanese writing and markings were found on various parts of the seaweed-covered dock, including "Shibata, Japan" on tyres, apparently designed to make it buoyant.

An OPRD spokesman said the dock was bigger than either a trawler scuttled off Alaska in April for safety reasons before reaching land, or a shipping container with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle inside on a Canada beach at the start last month.

"The container with the motorcycle was a fair bit smaller than this," Chris Havel said. "Certainly this is the biggest thing that's not a boat that we've had on the Oregon shore in my memory, for the last 17 years."