Fishermen spot huge Japanese dock floating near Molokai

Fisherman spot huge Japanese dock floating near Molokai
Published: Sep. 20, 2012 at 9:39 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 21, 2012 at 7:39 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A floating menace could be the biggest piece of tsunami debris Hawaii has seen yet.  Exclusive Hawaii News Now video shows a floating dock with Japanese writing on it.  It was last seen near Molokai.

The barge gets your attention and fishermen are concerned it's a hazard however what to do with it remains to be seen.

Two Maui fishermen got an up close look at this huge dock.  One of them even climbed aboard and saw the Japanese writing.  They estimate it's about 30 feet by 50 feet.  The dock had pier cleats and electrical boxes attached.

The fisherman first saw it Monday night about 30 miles north of Hana, Maui.  Then again Tuesday 25 miles northeast of Molokai.  And again yesterday when it was about 15 miles north Molokai.  Charting the course the fisherman thinks it will hit around Kahuku sometime Friday evening which had Oahu fisherman concerned.

"I'd hate to have to be traveling at night and no beacons or nothing on it. And some guys, not everybody has radar and to run into that could be devastating," said George White, Fisherman.

"They could seriously damage their boat even at night," said Joey Edwards, Fisherman.

We contacted the Coast Guard, NOAA and the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, all of which initially have pointed the finger at each other as to taking the lead on a response plan.

Thursday evening the Coast Guard said it would broadcast a "marine information broadcast on VHF Marine Band channel 16 to notify mariners of the debris."

In June a similar dock hit Newport, Oregon where Sam Taylor is from.

"There was a lot of hubbub all about it. It was a tourist attraction, thousands of people were showing up to see it and they were worried about invasive species," said Sam Taylor, who is in now working on a boat in Oahu.

Invasive species, damage to reefs, nuclear contamination, danger to boats and the ensuing fiasco are all concerns with fisherman which is why they think the dock should be dealt with before it hits anything.

"I think if there is a giant barge out there floating like that it should be sunk as an artificial reef. Fish love structure. There's always fish around any ship or barge that gets sunk. Fisherman would probably like it and it's a hazard to all these shipping container ships and everything around. I would sink the thing," said Taylor.

"If it gets close to our reefs it's just going to wipe them out," said White.

Hawaii already received $50,000 from the federal government to deal with tsunami debris.  This one piece could cause much more damage than that.  In Oregon's case it cost the state $84,000 to cut up and remove the dock.

The State Department of Transportation has set aside $10 million to deal with tsunami debris, but that's only for things that come into or block the harbor and channels.  It's not to intercept it out in the ocean.

To report tsunami debris with NOAA click here.

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