Officials Working to Identify Large Dock That Washed Ashore Near Forks

FORKS, Wash. – State officials say a Coast Guard helicopter has spotted a large dock that has washed ashore in a remote section of Olympic National Park on the coast.

Scientists are concerned it could be debris from the tsunami that struck Japan last year.

State Ecology Department spokesman Dave Workman says the dock was spotted Tuesday.

Federal, state and tribal agencies are working together to reach the site and evaluate the dock for any potential invasive aquatic species that might be aboard. They also want to conclusively determine where the dock came from. NOAA spokeswoman Keeley Belva tells us that’s not always an easy task “really it’s challenging to confirm debris without any type of identification or anything like that. You know a bottle with Japanese writing on it does not necessarily mean it came from the tsunami.” As of December 13th, NOAA has received approximately 1,432 official debris reports, of which 17 have been confirmed as definite tsunami debris.

Workman says it’s not yet clear whether the dock is part of debris from Japan’s March 2011 tsunami. The object is similar to a large dock that beached in Oregon over the summer.

The Coast Guard has been looking for the dock since a fishing vessel spotted it adrift in the Pacific last Friday.