Boxcar-size dock from Japan tsunami washes up on US beach (PHOTO, VIDEO)
The Japanese Consulate in Portland said the large floating pier came from the port of Misawa in northern Japan and appeared to have drifted across the Pacific to the U.S coast.
"It has a metal plaque written in Japanese. It was rather easy to identify where it originated," Deputy Consul General Hirofumi Murabayashi said.
The dock was first spotted floating offshore on Monday on Agate Beach, about a mile north of Newport. Several People took it for a barge
"What we have is a really large, well-built dock that survived a cross-ocean voyage," Chris Havel, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation, said.
Along for the ride were hundreds of millions of individual organisms, including a tiny species of crab, a species of algae, and a little starfish all native to Japan. Scientists are concerned about possible radiation the dock may contain.
"This is a very clear threat," said John Chapman, a researcher at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, "It's exactly like saying you threw a bowling ball into a China shop. It's going to break something. But will it be valuable or cheap glass. It's incredibly difficult to predict what will happen next."
However, a radiation check of the dock proved negative. The bulk of the debris from the March 2011 tsunami is not expected until the winter, but fast-moving examples have already reached North America's shores.
Among them a football, washed up in Alaska and a shipping container, holding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with Japanese registration plates that turned up in British Columbia earlier this year.
There are also concerns that something as big as the dock could pose a danger to ships at sea.
Local authorities have not yet decided what to do with the dock. It could be towed off the beach and sunk, or be cut up on the beach for removal.
Hirofumi Murabayashi said Japanese officials didn't care which option the state chose.
"The owner of this dock is Aomori Prefecture," he said, "and they told us that they do not wish to have it returned."
AFP Photo/Oregon Parks & Recreation