Japanese tsunami-ripped dock washes up on US beach

The origin of the nearly 70-foot-long dock was confirmed by the Japanese consulate in Portland, Oregon, by means of a commemorative plaque naming the manufacturer, and the discovery of a starfish native to Japan among the marine life still clinging to the structure more than a year after it went adrift, said Chris Havel, Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman.

Cast away: The large dock washed up on shore on Tuesday morning and has become a minor tourist attraction. Pic/AFP

“This is tsunami debris, not just from Japan, but from the tsunami itself,” Havel said. A radiation check of the dock came up negative, which was to be expected if the dock broke loose before the nuclear power plant accident triggered by the waves, Havel said.

The parks department was overseeing efforts to identify and remove the dock. The dock was first spotted floating offshore on Monday, and mistaken by several people for a barge.  It washed ashore early Tuesday on Agate Beach, a mile north of Newport on the central Oregon Coast. It’s made of concrete with a metal pontoon and measures 66-feet long, 19-feet wide and 7 feet high.

State police were posted to keep people from climbing on the dock, said Mitch Vance, shellfish programme manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Vance took samples of the mussels, barnacles and other shellfish clinging to the dock Wednesday morning. There also was green algae and brown kelp, he said.  

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