Search underway on coast for possible tsunami dock section

Tsunami dock  

 U.S. Coast Guard photo

This photo shows the dock offshore before landing on a beach south of La Push and north of the Hoh river mouth. 

A section of what appears to be a Japanese dock is reported to be on a Washington state beach located within the Olympic National Park boundary, according to a statement from Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office. The site is north of the mount of the Hoh River and south of La Push. Hiking along the coast has reportedly been restricted. 

It is still unsure if the section of dock is debris from the 2011 tsunami in northeast Japan.  According to initial estimates, the dock is 60 feet long, 19 feet wide, 7 feet tall, and weighs at least 188 tons, the report states.

A team is being organized to examine the washed-up dock to determine if it is tsunami debris and to examine marine life attached to the dock to if any invasive aquatic species are on the dock.

A team of state Marine Debris Task Force officials are being sent to the West End to undertake the investigation. The task force is being based at the University of Washington's Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks. Federal and tribal agencies will be working with the task force.

Cantwell is calling for federal funds to be allocated in preparation for the coastal landing of what could be a massive amount of tsunami debris in 2013. 

"The time is now to mobilize appropriate federal resources for planning and response," Cantwell said in the prepared statement. 

“I applaud the U.S. Coast Guard and state and federal officials for working around the clock to locate and respond to the threat posed by this tsunami debris, as well as the Quinault Indian Nation for their assistance with monitoring and response,” Cantwell said. “While officials continue to respond to the situation, it is important to monitor for any invasive species that may be attached to the dock and threaten our marine life.” 


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