SENDAI – The marooned 330-ton trawler Kyotoku Maru No. 18, which was pushed inland in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, by the March 2011 tsunami, will be dismantled instead of being preserved as a memorial, Mayor Shigeru Sugawara said Monday.
The city wanted to leave the stranded ship as a monument to the Great East Japan Earthquake and killer waves it spawned, but the consensus of about 70 percent of the residents was to take it away.
“We are going to cooperate with the dismantling process in line with the owner’s intention,” Sugawara told reporters.
The owner, Gisuke Gyogyo, a marine products company based in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, has already said it wanted to dismantle and remove the ship in line with local sentiment.
The city, hoping to talk Gisuke Gyogyo out of dismantling the ship, handed out a questionnaire to every household asking if they want the trawler left as is.
But out of about 14,000 respondents, 68.3 percent said there is no need to preserve the ship at its current location, while only 16.2 percent said it should remain where it is. Another 15.5 percent said part of the ship should be preserved or some other memorial erected.
Sugawara speculated that most people probably wanted the ship removed because its presence in the city’s center would only serve as a reminder of the tragedy.
A nonprofit ship recycler in Muroran, Hokkaido, has been contracted to dismantle the vessel and is making preparations, including getting the consent of the person who owns the land on which it sits.
Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai backed Monday’s decision.