A Tohoku fishing boat that washed up in Hawaii after being pulled out to sea by the March 2011 tsunami was headed back home Wednesday.

Loaded onto a larger vessel that came to Hawaii to collect it, the Katsu Maru No. 2 left Honolulu with about 60 Japanese high school students and crew members, and is scheduled to return to Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 11, the fifth anniversary of the disaster.

The fishing boat drifted to a beach in Honolulu last April after disappearing from Ishinomaki, which was nearly wiped out by the giant waves. Its return was arranged after Hiroki Shuto, 54, a hotelier in Honolulu, and others encouraged the state government and the Miyagi Prefectural Government to work on the boat so the city can use it to keep the memory of the disaster alive.

"Thanks to the support from various people, we are now able to haul it back," said Hiroyuki Hino, the 55-year-old captain of the Miyagi Maru, which is transporting the fishing boat.

Hino expressed gratitude to the people of Hawaii and said he and his crew will convey their goodwill to the people back home.

The owner of the fishing boat has already died, but his daughter is said to be looking forward to its return.