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DLNR requests reports on tsunami debris sightings

October 4, 2012
The Maui Weekly

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the state's lead agency for responding to reported possible Japan tsunami marine debris in Hawai'i, is coordinating with NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard to identify the current location of a 30- by 50-foot floating dock that was last seen on Wednesday, Sept. 19, by fishermen off the north coast of Molokai.

The dock is believed to be identical to three others reported missing from Japan after the March 2011 tsunami. Another one recently came ashore on an Oregon beach earlier this year.

"DLNR's priority, with the critical help of the public and federal partners, is to re-find this large floating object, which is a hazard to vessels at sea and the well-being of our coastal resources," said DLNR Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. "We need to be able to track its movement to try to intercept and handle the dock at sea, and to prevent serious environmental damage if it should reach shore."

DLNR also received a recent report from an O'ahu resident who had found black buoys on a local beach with no marine growth on them. The buoys were tested by the state Department of Health and normal background levels of radiation were found. Because most tsunami debris was washed out to sea before the release of radioactive materials from the power plant and because of its extended exposure to the elements, it is highly unlikely that the debris would be contaminated.

DLNR has requested that boaters, fishers and pilots be alert to the possible presence of the dock and to immediately report any sightings of the dock to (808) 587-0400. NOAA is also requesting that sightings of marine debris be reported to If possible, a picture of the debris with a detailed description of the object, date found, location and finder's contact information be sent to should be sent to



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