SEATTLE -- A Japanese fishing boat that washed away last March following earthquake and tsunami has been located off the coast of British Columbia.
The office of Senator Maria Cantwell (D, WA) reports to KING 5 News the 150-foot vessel was located drifting about 120 nautical miles off the Queen Charlotte Islands. The boat was found floating right-side-up.
Japanese officials confirmed the boat was lost after the tsunami. The 150-foot vessel was based in Hokkaido. No one was thought to be aboard.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association was aware of the situation as well.
It is estimated the boat would make landfall in about 50 days, but it will likely be removed by then because it is a hazard to navigation. The vessel poses no environmental hazard.
This is the first large piece of debris found on the West Coast following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan one year ago. About five million tons of debris was swept into the ocean by the 9.0 quake.
Sen.Cantwell issued a statement saying there needs to be a clearer response and cleanup plan for tsunami debris.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Washington state depend on our healthy marine ecosystems. We can't afford to wait until more tsunami debris washes ashore to understand its potential impact on Washington state's 10.8 billion dollar coastal economy. And we can't afford to cut the NOAA marine debris program by 25 percent with no plan in place for Japanese tsunami debris, said Sen.Cantwell.