NEWPORT, Ore. - A large dock that washed up on Agate Beach in Newport floated all the way to Oregon after Japan's earthquake and tsunami, experts confirmed Wednesday.
Slideshow: Washed up dock
The Japanese Consulate's Office in Seattle and Portland have both confirmed the match. The 66-foot-long concrete and steel floating dock was traced to a manufacturer in Japan. The consulate confirmed it had been in use when the tsunami hit, in Misawa, an area of Japan slammed by giant waves.
On Tuesday in Oregon, the dock was spotted sitting at the high tide line on Agate Beach. A photo of it was immediately sent to the Japanese consulate in Seattle. The dock is 7 feet tall, 19 feet wide and 66 feet long. Shortly after it made landfall, it was checked for radiation and the tests were negative.
A placard on the dock was written in Japanese. A translator hired by NBC said it listed information about the construction date, a company name, the specifications for this type of dock, a phone number and the name of a harbor.
"It belonged to local government in Honshu, the main island of Japan. It was part of a floating pontoon," said Portland consulate Takamichi Okabe. "The outside surface is made of concrete but inside a kind of Styrofoam. That's why it floated and it came so early to the shore of the West Coast."
Scientists at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport verified that there was evidence of marine life specific to Japan attached to the dock. In particular, a starfish found by a scientist among the marine life clinging to the dock was said to be native to Japan, according to Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman Chris Haven, who helped to confirm the information with the consulate.
There was some concern about potential invasive species exposure. OPRD was working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to contain this threat, Haven said.
OPRD was also working on developing disposal options. Two possibilities were salvage or demolition; both were being evaluated.
Park staff posted warning tape and signs instructing the public to stay off the structure. On Wednesday, dozens of onlookers had gathered on the beach to take photos of the dock.
"I can't believe the journey it's made, without anything pulling but the ocean," said beach visitor Sandie Fink. "It's just absolutely amazing to me."