Blue bin is first confirmed Japan tsunami debris in Hawaii

Several agencies unable to locate dock

Published  12:00 AM HST Sep 21, 2012
Floating dock may be making its way to Hawaii following the Japan tsunami
HONOLULU -

Despite recent reports and video of a dock, which some local fisherman say is floating near the Hawaiian islands, the Coast Guard did not find that dock during a fly-over on Friday near the last reported sighting, 15 miles North of Molokai.

Still, scientists say the blue bin that came from the tsunami region, proves what they've have been predicting from day one.

"So far, it's consistent with our expectations. The timing was perfect," said UH Researcher Nikolai Maximenko, who has been following patterns, tweaking models and updating predictions since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan 18 months ago.

Luckily for scientists, a blue bin from a Fukushima company floated near the Makai Research Pier in Waimanalo on Tuesday. US federal and Japanese agencies confirmed Friday it is the first official debris to reach the islands.

"I'm interested to see if more things start showing up," said Michael Nedbal, who is with Makai Research Engineering.

The state is trying to confirm reports from some Maui fisherman, who said Tuesday they first spotted a large dock with Japanese writing on it floating 30 miles north of Maui, then 25 miles north of Molokai on Tuesday, and then reportedly 15 miles north of Molokai on Thursday.

A dock that washed up on shore at Agate Beach in Oregon in June is stunning proof of the tsunami debris that could be headed toward Hawaii, but unlike that dock and the Waimanalo blue bin, state and federal officials said Friday, no one else has seen the reported Hawaii-bound dock, nor confirmed it could be from Japan.

"I can easily imagine how it could be from tsunami debris, and how it could be some different story," said Maximenko.

He told KITV4 that all summer, they've been sending out scientists and volunteers who have found numerous items near the Hawaiian islands, that he suspects could be tsunami debris too.

"We need to keep our eyes open and keep (a) timeline and (an) estimate of debris on our shores, and just keeping these records combined with our model can help us know when (the) peak is coming and when it’s over," he said.

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