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Dock found is debris from Japan

PORTLAND, Ore. A nearly 70-foot-long dock that floated ashore on an Oregon beach was torn loose from a fishing port in northern Japan by last years tsunami and drifted across thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean, a Japanese Consulate official said Wednesday.

A commemorative plaque on the dock showed it was one of four owned by Aomori Prefecture that broke loose from the port of Misawa on the northern tip of the main island, Deputy Consul Hirofumi Murabayashi said from Portland, Ore.

Chris Havel, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation, said the dock washed ashore early Tuesday on Agate Beach, a mile north of Newport on the central Oregon Coast. Its made of concrete with a metal pontoon and measures 66 feet long, 19 feet wide and 7 feet high.

This is tsunami debris, not just from Japan, but from the tsunami itself, he said.

Tom Cleveland, a housekeeping supervisor at some nearby beachfront condominiums, said the dock washed ashore in a storm, and people curious to see it have been jamming up traffic at a beach parking lot.

A radiation check of the dock came up negative, which was to be expected if the dock broke loose before the nuclear power plant accident triggered by the waves, Havel said. The parks department was overseeing efforts to identify and remove the dock.

The bulk of the debris from the March 2011 tsunami is not expected until winter, but fast-moving examples have been arriving on North Americas shores. They include a soccer ball that washed up in Alaska and a shipping container holding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with Japanese license plates that turned up in British Columbia earlier this year.