A large barge believed to be floating free from the 2011 Japan tsunami is expected to land on shore north of Taholah within the next day, according to the latest reports from a joint tribal, state and federal effort to monitor the debris.
Taholah is north of Ocean Shores, and about 50 miles north of the Long Beach Peninsula.
The same barge was noted bypassing Hawaii this past summer, and was speculated to contain invasive species, very similar to the barge that washed up on an Oregon beach this past summer, said Steve Robinson, spokesman for the Quinault Indian Nation.
The barge is expected to make landfall 5 to 25 miles north of Taholah, Robinson said in an update Monday afternoon.
If so, this would be U.S. Park Service property north of the Quinault Reservation. The Coast Guard is doing a flyover and hopefully additional information will be available, he said.
A barge washed up on the beach at Agate Beach in Newport, Ore., in June. It was a dock float with 165 tons of concrete and steel, measuring 66 feet long, 19 feet wide and 7 feet high. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff and volunteers had to remove about a ton and a half of mostly invasive plant and animal material from the derelict Japanese debris.
In a fact sheet about the tsunami debris, it is speculated the barge could be one of four dock floats the size of freight train boxcars ripped from their pilings in the Japanese fishing port of Misaw.
On Friday evening, fishermen aboard the fishing boat Lady Nancy reported a large object floating off the coast of Washington state, approximately 16 nautical miles northwest of the Grays Harbor entrance.
Washington State Emergency Management Division then began coordinating the state efforts to address the threat. Following its Marine Debris Response Plan, the state contacted federal and tribal partners to review the planned response.
Since Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard has continuously broadcast a Safety Marine Information Broadcast alerting mariners of the danger. Sector Columbia River/Air Station Astoria conducted five searches with an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, covering a combined area of 317 square miles.
The government of Japan estimated the tsunami swept about 5 million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean. Anyone sighting this object or other significant debris that may be from the tsunami is asked to contact local authorities and report it to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov.