Wreck leads tsunami debris heading for Canada
A Japanese fishing vessel swept away by last year's disaster is on course for British Columbia's coast as fears grow for wildlife
It's big, rusty and, at its current rate of progress, you can expect it to wash ashore somewhere north of Vancouver in roughly 50 days' time. Coastguards in British Columbia are monitoring a Japanese fishing vessel that was apparently swept away by last year's tsunami and is now about 120 miles north of Canada's Haida Gwaii islands.
Thought to be a squid-fishing boat, the craft is in the vanguard of what is expected to be a huge amount of tsunami debris heading Canada's way. It has now travelled more than 4,700 miles. Having established that no one is on board, Canadian officials have posted a maritime warning, suggesting that it could pose a navigational hazard in congested coastal waters.
The ship's progress is also being closely watched by US authorities, who say they have seen small items of debris begin to hit beaches in the Pacific north-west in recent months. "This 150ft fishing vessel is the first major West Coast tsunami debris confirmed by Japanese officials," said Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator from Washington state. "Coastal residents need to know who is in charge of tsunami debris response. We need clearer answers now."
The name of the stricken ship, which hails from the coastal city of Hokkaido, remains unknown, but it represents the first of what scientists reckon to be many major pieces of debris from the March 2011 disaster approaching the coastline of North America. Between 20 and 25 million tons of rubbish were washed into the sea by the tsunami, of which anywhere from one to two million tons are thought to still be floating around the Pacific Ocean. Most of that debris is on course to hit land over the next two years.
There is little chance of any debris being contaminated by radiation, apparently. The debris came from a large swath of Japan's north-eastern coast, of which the tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima occupies only a small area. Further, it was dragged out to sea with the tsunamis, before the Fukushima plant experienced multiple meltdowns. But environmentalists are concerned that nets and other fishing equipment could endanger wildlife. Plastic waste may end up being broken down into small pieces which can be ingested by fish and birds. Larger items may also threaten the safety of boats navigating coastal waters.
Japanese officials have asked authorities to check floating debris for photographs and other personal items which might be returned to families of victims of the tsunami.
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...