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Thursday, 7th June 2012
In General Japan News,

Japan dock washes up on US coast

Harley Davidson motorcycles, footballs and other debris have all washed up on the US coast after being swept out to sea during the March 11th tsunami in Japan last year, but now the most unusual item of all has turned up on the other side of the Pacific.

A huge 20m-long piece of dock has turned up on the shore of Oregon, after floating some 5,000 miles across the ocean.

Four of the docks, which are roughly the size of a train carriage, were ripped from their fishing port home in Misawa, Japan, during the tsunami in 2011.

Two of them have not been seen since and one washed ashore on an island nearby, but the fourth has just completed its remarkable journey to the US – despite weighing a staggering 165 tonnes.

However, scientists are concerned that the huge concrete, iron and tyre structure could cause significant ecological damage because of the organisms it has brought with it.

Micro organisms, algae, crabs and even a starfish all made the journey across the Pacific Ocean riding on the back of the dock, and there are worries that they could disrupt the delicately balanced marine eco-system if they begin to breed and spread.

Oregon State University research scientist John Chapman believes that the new marine life that has entered US waters poses a "very clear threat".

"It's exactly like saying you threw a bowling ball into a China shop," he said.

"It's going to break something. But will it be valuable or cheap glass. It's incredibly difficult to predict what will happen next."

Unsurprisingly, the arrival of such a huge chunk of debris from Japan has caused quite a stir, and locals have been flocking to the beach to see it.

Meanwhile, police have been stationed at the site to prevent people climbing on the port as authorities decide what to do with it.

"If this crossed the Pacific Ocean and it's this big, that means that just about anything of our worst nightmares could cross the Pacific Ocean," local resident Kirk Tite told the BBC. "We're kind of frightened of what's to come".

Written by Graham McPherson

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