Boat Recovered From Kahana Bay Shoreline Could Be Japan Tsunami Marine Debris

An open boat recovered from the shoreline of Kahana Bay, Oahu, may be the next piece to be verified as Japan tsunami marine debris, pending confirmation by the Government of Japan, with assistance by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Consulate-General of Japan in Honolulu.

A boat found in Kahana Bay may be Tsunami debris

Pieces of a boat found in Kahana Bay may be Tsunami debris

The approximately 20-foot boat was reportedly seen floating whole on Thursday, November 29 in Kahana Bay. By Friday afternoon when it was officially reported, it had broken up into pieces on rocks on the northward outer edge of the bay. Staff from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) the State’s lead agency for marine debris responses, were able to retrieve pieces of the boat from the rocks and bring them ashore on Saturday.

Further investigations by DLNR today in the ocean near where the boat had washed up on to the rocks recovered more pieces of the broken boat. Identification information found on the various pieces include Japanese characters (kanji) on a section of the bow, and Japanese registration numbers from pieces of the stern. The NOAA Marine Debris Program in Hawai‘i is working with the Japan Consulate on confirmation of the boat’s origin.

DLNR and NOAA will make a followup announcement if this item is confirmed. If it is confirmed, it will be the fourth confirmed tsunami marine debris item for Hawaii and the 17th overall for the U.S. and Canada. (Currently, there are 16 confirmed JTMD for US and Canada.)

Identification of the boat’s origin may also help with the identification of two species of mussels collected by DLNR staff that were attached to the boat as biofouling. The mussels could be a species that is present along the Japan coastline and is not currently known to be present in Hawai‘i.

Specimens were turned over to NOAA for further identification by Bishop Museum and possible genetic identification.