Japanese dock unmoored by tsunami washes ashore in Newport

Jun 7, 2012

The Japanese consulate has confirmed that the dock that washed ashore Tuesday at Agate Beach near Newport is debris from the March 2011 Tsunami in Japan. it was checked for radiation and results came back negative.

Now, Oregon officials have organized a group of volunteers to scrape off, bag up and dispose of the hundreds of millions of marine organisms that hitchhiked aboard a boxcar-sized dock that floated across the Pacific during last year's tsunami.

State Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Chris Havel said Thursday biologists have identified one as a marine algae native to Japan known as wakame, which has established in Southern California, but not yet Oregon.

That has officials concerned about the spread of invasive species. Havel says officials have not decided whether to tow it off the beach or cut it up in place for disposal.

The dock is seven feet tall, 19 feet wide and 66 feet long. A plaque attached to the top has Japanese writing on it.

Chris Havel with Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation says a picture of the placard was sent to the Japanese Consulate in Seattle for translation. Scientists from the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport verified samples from the dock have evidence of marine life specific to Japan.

Havel says people can come take a look at the dock and even touch it from the sides.

"We just ask that people be careful. If they do come down on to the beach they are certainly welcome to but no climbing on the dock, it is very tall, very slippery and not particularly safe."

The dock is not here to stay. Havel says it will be removed using an option that is cost effective and not disruptive to the ocean shore.

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Japan Tsunami Debris - Information and FAQs

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