Fishermen in Hawaii have discovered a Japanese boat that the U.S. Coast Guard reports washed out to sea in the March 2011 tsunami.
Peter Grillo, captain of the tuna fishing vessel Zephyr found the 16-foot coastal skiff in waters 700 miles northeast of Oahu on Sept. 28. The Japanese boat was spotted floating intact, but capsized and covered in "barnacles 6-to-8 inches thick," according to Grillo.
"When it occurred to me that it could have come from Japan, and from the tsunami, I measured from where I was to Tokyo Bay," Grillo told KITV. "It was 3,500 miles."
Grillo scraped the barnacles off the ship's hull and brought it in to port with him at Honolulu on Friday afternoon. Hawaii officials contacted the Japanese consulate, which confirmed that the skiff was from Iwate prefecture, and had been washed out to sea in the March 2011 tsunami. The owner does not want the boat returned, according to NBC News.
The boat was tested for radiation, and results came back negative. It is believed to be the second piece of debris from the catastrophic tsunami to reach Hawaii, following the recovery of a blue plastic seafood storage bin from Fukushima last month.
The Maui News reports that Hawaii boaters are being asked to report any debris that they encounter with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The NOAA is providing a grant of $250,000 to five states to help mitigate the cost of cleaning up tsunami debris, but some critics say that the money isn't enough.