Boat could be latest debris from Japan Tsunami

Vessel could be worth more than $20,000

Published  11:26 PM HST Dec 24, 2012
PUNALUU, Hawaii -

 It could be the latest piece of tsunami debris from Japan. 

A family in Punaluu is celebrating its find saying it's a Christmas gift from the Gods.

It's not every day a 24-foot skiff washes ashore and lands right near your backyard.

"It's a gift from Akua. It's a blessing," said Leilehualani Kane.

Call it an early visit from Santa.

Kane's relatives noticed something floating near Punaluu Stream Sunday afternoon and quickly claimed it. 

"The children brought the boat, flipped it over, and pushed it through the channel and the stream,"said Kane.

The family has been cleaning the boat since finding it. 

Rusty Nall, the owner of American Maritime Corporation, a boat salvaging company, says the boat could be worth anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 once the barnacles are scraped off.

PHOTOS: Possible Japanese boat from tsunami
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This could be the latest piece of tsunami debris from Japan.

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"It's worth a lot of money.  According to international salvage law, whoever finds the boat and does the work to save it is entitled to it," said Nall.

Scientists have estimated the devastating tsunami in Japan in March 2011 swept 5 million tons debris into the ocean.

Officials from the Department of Land and Natural Resources say all signs indicate this boat is tsunami debris and are working with the Japan Consulate to identify the owner of the boat. 

For now, these children have a Christmas gift to play with and full stomachs too since the family collected the mussels clinging to the sides of the boat.

"We ate it boiled it, cooked it, and made a soup.  It tasted good.  It tasted ono," said Kane.

State workers identified the Japanese green mussels on the boat and consider them invasive species. 

They'll return on Thursday to search the area where the boat was found to look for any other invasive mussels.

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