By: Dianna Parker, Communications Specialist, NOAA Marine Debris Program
Another piece of debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, a 20-by-6-foot skiff, has made its way to Hawaii – this time on board a fisherman’s vessel:
The Zephyr, a longline fishing vessel, discovered the 20-by-6-foot skiff approximately 700 nautical miles northeast of Maui and reported it to the U.S. Coast Guard on September 29. After cleaning the aquatic species from its hull, the crew took it aboard and arrived with it in Honolulu Harbor the morning of October 5.
“We appreciate that this fisherman reached out to us and our partners at the Coast Guard and State of Hawaii to alert us of the skiff and determine appropriate measures to take,” said Carey Morishige, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program Pacific Islands regional coordinator. “Boaters are our eyes on the water and we need their help to be on the lookout for marine debris.”
NOAA, the Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Hawaii Dept. of Health, Hawaii Dept. of Transportation and the US Coast Guard coordinated a response for the skiff’s arrival, which included inspecting it for radiation and invasive species. NOAA also coordinated with the Japan consulate in Honolulu to contact the skiff’s owner and confirm that he did not want it returned.
Last month, officials in Japan also confirmed that a large blue plastic seafood bin that showed up off the southeast coast of Oahu was also lost during the tsunami.