Giant 70ft Japanese dock washes up on US shores

Adam Parris-Long

A gigantic 70ft-long dock torn away during the Japanese tsunami has washed up on a beach in Oregon, US, more than 15 months after the disaster.

Hundreds of tonnes of debris has washed up on the shores of the US and Canada since the deadly tsunami struck Japan in March 2011, though nothing has so far remotely come close to the size of the dock. At seven feet tall and over 70 feet long, it was mistaken for a barge on first sighting.

The steel dock has been traced to a Japanese manufacturer that builds floating marine structures. A starfish native to Japan was found still clinging on to the structure.  

The remarkable 165-tonne structure had low levels of radiation, indicating that it may have broken loose prior to waves hitting the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

A spokesman for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Chris Havel, said the dock may well be towed off the beach and disposed of.

"We're working with some salvage experts to get advice on whether it's even possible to move it, whether we have to wait for certain conditions, like another high tide, or whether there's some other way to do it," he said.

The dock is not the only piece of debris to have washed up more than 5000 miles from Japan. A Harley-Davidson motorbike was found off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, in May.

A young Japanese boy was also reunited with a football that was lost in the disaster. The ball, with owner Misaki Murakami’s name and school written on it, was found on a beach on Middleton Island, Canada.

Although hundreds of tonnes have already washed up around the Canadian and Alaskan coastlines, the majority of debris is expected to surface in 2013.

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