Small Japanese fishing boat washes ashore at Kahana Bay, possible tsunami debris

Published: Dec. 1, 2012 at 2:31 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2012 at 9:06 PM HST
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A 20-foot fiberglass boat washed up on the rocks near Kahana Bay.
A 20-foot fiberglass boat washed up on the rocks near Kahana Bay.
Brad Camphouse
Brad Camphouse
Perry Dane
Perry Dane

KAHANA BAY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 20-foot fiberglass boat washed up on the rocks near Kahana Bay sometime Thursday, and could be from the March 2011 tsunami that devastated northeast Japan.

The boat was first seen Thursday morning, floating upside-down in the ocean just off the bay.

"I just came out to talk to a guy parked on the road there, and he was octopus fishing here off the bay, and he said, 'Is that your boat?'," said Brad Camphouse, who is visiting his parents who live near the bay.

The boat was in one piece when Camphouse saw it, but by Friday, it had washed onto the rocks, where waves during the early-morning high tide had broken it in two.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources hasn't confirmed the debris as being from the tsunami, saying that there are already lots of flotsam in Hawaii waters that aren't necessarily related to the disaster.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a Web site that shows where debris has been found, including three confirmed pieces of tsunami debris found in Hawaii waters.

First, a seafood storage bin from a Japanese fishing company was found floating in waters off Waimanalo in September. Then, a 20-foot skiff was discovered by a longline fishing boat hundreds of miles north of Maui. The skiff was brought to Honolulu and was tracked back to an owner in Japan, who didn't want it back.

One person who looked at the boat at Kahana Bay is convinced its identical to the skiff. "I saw the shape of it, and I remembered the one I'd seen down by the auction block (at Honolulu Harbor). And I knew it was from Japan because we don't have that kind of boat here," said fisherman Perry Dane.

On Saturday, Department of Land and Natural Resources officials told Hawaii News Now that they were planning on removing the boat but did not have an estimated time fram for that project to be completed.

If registration numbers or other markings can be determined, a difficult task because of the vessel's current condition, the DLNR would then ask NOAA to contact the Japanese consulate in Honolulu for assistance in identifying a previous owner.

In the third find in Hawaii waters, another boat was discovered washed ashore at Midway atoll.

A map on the NOAA Web site shows Hawaii well within the area where debris has been floating, with the highest concentration to the northeast of the islands.

The DLNR says it will remove the debris of the broken boat, document it, and then decide whether to forward the findings to NOAA and the Japanese government, which has just donated $5 million to the U.S. to handle Japan tsunami debris.

The public is invited to contact DLNR at (808) 587-0400 to report findings of possible tsunami marine debris. If possible, we request that a picture of the debris with a detailed description of the object, date found, location and finder's contact information, be sent to .

This information will help DLNR staff to determine if a more thorough investigation is necessary.  If you find a debris item that can clearly be traced back to an individual or group and has monetary and personal value, please report it to with relevant information.

Previous story: Hawaii fishermen find skiff from Japan tsunami

Previous story: Bin in Hawaii confirmed to be tsunami debris

Related link: NOAA Web site on Japanese Tsunami Debris

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