Tsunami dock to be hauled off U.S. beach


A 185-ton dock that was swept from Tohoku by the 2011 tsunami and reached a remote coastal area of Washington state will be dismantled and removed by helicopter this month, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

The removal costs are estimated at around $628,000 (¥58.8 million). The majority of these funds, some $478,000, is expected to come from the $5 million (¥468 million) provided by Japan to clean up tsunami debris crossing the Pacific and washing ashore on the U.S. West Coast.

The dock was one of four ripped from the port of Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, by the March 11 tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. It beached at Washington’s Olympic National Park in mid-December, and has since been monitored by state and local agencies.

Meanwhile, officials forecast that another dock originating from Tohoku that washed up on a beach in Oregon last June will cost around $84,000 (¥7.9 million) to remove. To date, NOAA has identified 21 items of tsunami debris that have made it to U.S. shores or nearby waters.

  • twodaughters

    How powerful are the currents in the Pacific Ocean to wash a dock from Japan to Oregon?

    • Jon Miner

      Gross, M G. Oceanography. 6th ed. Columbus: Merrill, 1990: 74-75.:

      “The relatively narrow, jet-like currents of the Gulf Stream
      system and the Kuroshio off Japan are the largest currents in the ocean.
      They have speeds between 40 and 120 km/day (25 to 75 mi/day).”

      (0.4–1.3 meters per second)

      Anything floating in the current will be carried along at near the current’s speed. Heavier items will move more slowly than lighter items. It is estimated that over 1 million tons of debris are in the current. Those items that do not wash ashore in America will be returned by the current to Japan and go around and around as long as they continue floating.