June 6th, 2012
02:47 PM ET

Japanese dock from tsunami drifts, lands on Oregon beach

Residents near Agate Beach in Oregon were shocked when they saw a 66-foot long dock had washed ashore.

The massive dock was spotted earlier in the week floating offshore, a mile north of Newport, according to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. And upon closer examination it was clear that it wasn't just your ordinary ocean debris. The placard, bearing Japanese writing,  gave them a hint.


A metal placard bearing Japanese writing was found attached to the dock.

Instantly the question was: Is this another giant piece of debris from the tsunami in Japan last year that's made its way to U.S. shores? It certainly wouldn't have been the first time - and likely won't be the last.

Debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan began showing up on western U.S. shores  in recent months.

After some testing and translation officials confirmed that the derelict dock was indeed debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, the parks department said, citing the Japanese Consulate in Portland.

The parks department said they were able to trace the dock back to Japan after having the local Japanese consulate translate the placard which reveals a company name, location and phone number. Havel added that tires on the dock were determined to have come from a company in Japan. And officials testing plants and wildlife found on the dock learned they were native to Japan.

At first residents were told to stay away from the giant dock, which is 7 feet tall and 19 feet wide.

The dock, made of concrete and metal, posed concerns about whether it might be radioactive at first. Oregon parks spokesman Chris Havel told CNN that officials tested the dock for radiation but the tests were negative.

There have been concerns that tsunami debris from Japan could be contaminated by radiation because of problems at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that it is unlikely that radioactive material will make landfall in North America.

Read more about other tsunami debris and radiation concerns:

Japanese man claims motorcycle that washed up in Canada

U.S. Coast Guard sinks Japanese boat washed away by tsunami

Japanese boat washed away in tsunami spotted more than a year later

Low levels of Fukushima cesium found in West Coast tuna

- CNN's Linda Hall, Shawn Nottingham and Casey Wian contributed to this report.

soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. texan

    ya think

    June 7, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. JD

    @Bob B

    Tell that to our countrymen to pick up the trash we dumped on "Great Pacific Garbage Patch"

    June 7, 2012 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. larry5

    What kind of new creatures do we now have growing in our waters? This is all we need, another new pest.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Reg

    This probably means heads are gonna roll at the defense departments responsible for monitoring giant vessels approaching USA, for this could otherwise have been a Trojan horse with enemy invaders inside. Time to pickup those good old patrol drills.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:17 am | Report abuse |
    • JW

      Reg, that's good one. LOL!!!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
    • joma14

      huh?

      June 7, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • fofo

      Even little bit of paranoia is bad for you.

      June 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Yup. You could fill that with like 50 people. How could the U.S. military compete with such a force!?

      June 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristin

      Good point!

      June 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NonHistorian

    This terrible events have demonstrated that people were able to travel through pacific to the Americas, before Cristobal Colon. All they needed was simply enough supply. They probably populated South America, and Central America, and from there moved into the Atlantic.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • HJon

      You are right Christopher Columbis DID NOT DISCOVER America.

      They said a lot of people like the Chinese, Mayans, Eskimos and Vikings dicovered North America

      June 7, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      It was never 'discovered', it just 'moved' over time. The Europeans just have bad memories.

      June 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. seattlite

    Could the debris from the tsunami be radioactive?

    June 7, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Andy

    It could be structurally unstable after such a journey especially if it collided with other debris on the way. I don't think anything from the debris flotilla will be radioactive, all of that stuff was washed away days before the plant started discharging radioactive substances.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Judy

    Why get rid of it? I would think it could still be used. Put it up for sale and see what happens. Easily towed to it's new owner.

    June 7, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • extrusio

      should make a good fishing dock; attach it to a jetty somewhere to get some use from it. it will probably cost more to dispose of it than use it.

      June 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jmysterio

    Put it on e-bay

    June 7, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    I'd be more concerned about the "plants and wildlife" they found attached to it. Those species need to be destroyed so they don't have a chance to colonize here. It only took a few Zebra and Quagga muscles to completely disrupt the US water supply. Ask people in the South how they like Kudzu or Oregonians how much they appreciate Nutria. I know I can't stand carp in every lake and stream and Starlings crapping up the place.

    June 7, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • hahahaaaaaaaaaa

      what dock you don't see a dock. what debris? it all sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

      June 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nick

    Christopher Columbus may not have been the first to discover America, but I'm sure he's the first to publicize it in a way that none before him had done. So in effect he still discovered America.....

    June 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. glades2

    There's nothing that can be done other than haul it all away and have it disposed of, though perhaps any large debris (like the dock) probably should be examined first for any human remains, considering what caused this to happen...

    June 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. hahahaaaaaaaaaa

    move along there's nothing to see here...

    June 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Johnny

    Who wants to help me and take it to Pawn Stars in Vegas??? I can see it now .. The dad saying "this is a part of history...... and I want it"

    June 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kanwarjeet singh

    What goes around comes around. We used radiation from the air (70 years ago in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and they are sending some it back across the seas.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
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