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Friday, April 26, 2013

Crescent City: First Confirmed Fukushima Tsunami Debris Washes Ashore In Northern California #CaBeaches

Japanese boat found in Crescent City confirmed as first tsunami debris in California
The small boat is the first confirmed Fukushima Great Earthquake Tsunami item landing in California
 The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration confirmed the boat’s origin on Thursday after communicating through the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco. 

A 20-foot boat that washed ashore April 7 in Crescent City has been confirmed by the federal government as the first piece of debris to hit California shores that can be positively traced back to the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.
The small vessel belonged to the marine sciences program of Takata High School, which was completely destroyed by the tsunami, much like the majority of the school’s town: Rikuzentakata in the Iwate prefecture.
The vessel was unofficially linked to Takata High School just days after landing in Crescent City after HSU geologist Lori Dengler posted pictures of the barnacle-covered boat to Rikuzentakata’s Facebook page. Shortly after, a teacher from the high school confirmed that the boat belonged to the school.  The story of the connection can be read here.
“As of April 4, NOAA has received approximately 1,691 official debris reports, of which we have been able to confirm that 27 items are definite tsunami debris as of today. The skiff is the first confirmed item for California,” said NOAA spokeswoman Keeley Belva in an email on Thursday.Japan Tsunami Marine Debris
A NOAA modeling effort shows that some buoyant items have reached the Pacific Northwest coast during winter 2011-2012. More debris is likely still dispersed north of the Main Hawaiian Islands and east of Midway Atoll.
 March 2011, a devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. The disaster claimed nearly 16,000 lives, injured 6,000, and destroyed or damaged countless buildings. As a result of the disaster, NOAA expects a portion of the debris that the tsunami washed into the ocean to reach U.S. and Canadian shores over the next several years.

There is no reason to avoid beaches. Radiation experts believe it is highly unlikely any debris is radioactive, and the debris is not in a mass.

Beachgoers may notice an increase in debris near-shore or on the coast, adding to the marine debris that washes up every day. The public should continue to visit and enjoy our coasts—and help keep them clean.NOAA is leading efforts with federal, state, and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible impacts to our natural resources and coastal communities.

Be safe: Use common sense and follow general safety guidelines. If you don't know what an item is, don't touch it. If it appears hazardous, contact appropriate authorities.

Some West Coast states have established toll-free phone lines for reporting all categories of marine debris, including potentially hazardous debris:

Oregon: Call 2-1-1
Washington: Call 1-855-WACOAST (1-855-922-6278)

Marine debris items or significant accumulations potentially related to the tsunami can also be reported to with as much information as possible (including its location, the date and time you found it, photos, and any relevant descriptions). It is important to remember that not all debris found on U.S. shorelines is from Japan, so please use your discretion when reporting items.
Marine Debris Handling GuidelinesGeneral Guidelines By Debris Type

Litter and other typical marine debris items
Examples: Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, buoys, Styrofoam Common marine debris types may vary by location. If safe and practical, we encourage you to remove the debris and recycle as much of it as possible.

Potential hazardous materials (HAZMAT)
Examples: Oil or chemical drums, gas cans, propane tanks.
Contact your local authorities (a 911 call), a state emergency response or environmental health agency, and the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 to report the item with as much information as possible. Do not touch the item or attempt to move it. Do not contact for response assistance

Derelict vessel or other large debris item
Examples: Adrift fishing boat, shipping containers
Contact your local authorities (a 911 call) and a state emergency response or environmental health agency to report the item. If the debris item is a potential hazard to navigation, immediately radio your nearest US Coast Guard Sector Command Center via VHF-FM Ch. 16 or 2182 MHz or notify the US Coast Guard Pacific Area Command at 510-437-3701. Do not attempt to move or remove the item.

Mementos or possessions
Examples: Items with unique identifiers, names, or markings
If an item can 1) be traced back to an individual or group and 2) has personal or monetary value, it should be reported to NOAA will work with local Japan consulates to determine if they can help identify its owner.

It is highly unlikely that remains from the tsunami will reach the United States, but if you see human remains anywhere, contact local authorities (a 911 call) and report what you observed. Do not touch or attempt to move them.

Unknown item
If you don't know what it is, don't touch it. If you believe it is a hazardous item, contact local authorities and report it.

For the latest information on tsunami debris please visit: the NOAA Marine Debris webpages about the Japanese tsunami debris at:

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