Scientists spot tsunami debris on Pacific voyage - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Scientists spot tsunami debris on Pacific voyage

KEWALO BASIN (HawaiiNewsNow) - About 1,500 miles off the coast of Japan, scientists aboard the Sea Dragon research vessel spotted a section of a Japanese fishing boat bobbing on the surface.

"Basically, it was just the bow of the boat and very little under. And thee was a lot of fish living around it," oceanographer Rodrigo Olson said. "It was definitely Japanese because of the registration on the side and the name. It clearly came from Japan."

They also found a piece of Japanese floor matting and a new car tire covered in moss with the words "made in Japan" clearly marked on the sidewall. Items were scattered over miles of ocean.

"There was a lot of things like toothbrushes, combs, plastic water bottles, glass water bottles," environmentalist Tracey Read said. "We found a couple of large tubes that could possibly have been from the tsunami."

"A lot of domestic items had Japanese writing. There was a lot of stuff, a lot of Styrofoam, broken pieces of buckets and fishing gear," Olson said.

The environmental organizations 5 Gyres Institute and Algalita Marine Research Institute partnered on the month-long expedition to hunt tsunami debris, and confirm a computer model prediction that the debris field is moving east, north of Hawaii, heading toward the mainland.

"It was really sad. This is obviously somebody's life out here," Read said.

Last month a concrete and steel dock from Japan washed ashore in Oregon. In March, a small Japanese ship was spotted off the British Columbia coast.

Olson said, eventually, Hawaii will see tsunami debris.

"It's difficult to know when. But, definitely, something will come," he said.

The debris has been sent to Los Angeles, where 5 Gyres will display it for educational purposes.

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