The 20-by-6-foot skiff, covered in barnacles, was found floating northeast of Maui by the crew of the 'F/V Zephyr' who towed it in and cleaned it up.
On the heels of Hawaii’s first confirmed report of Japan tsunami debris, NOAA and its partners are already examining the second confirmed item: a barnacled skiff which a fisherman found off the Hawaii coast—and which he wants to keep.
Using the skiff’s registration number, NOAA worked through the Japan Consulate in Hawaii to track down its owner, who expressed no interest in having it returned or in whom took possession of it.
The Zephyr, a longline fishing vessel, discovered the 20-by-6-foot skiff approximately 700 nautical miles northeast of Maui and reported it to the U.S. Coast Guard on September 29. After cleaning the aquatic species from its hull, the crew took it aboard and arrived with it in Honolulu Harbor the morning of October 5.
“We appreciate that this fisherman reached out to us and our partners at the Coast Guard and State of Hawaii to alert us of the skiff and determine appropriate measures to take,” said Carey Morishige, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program Pacific Islands regional coordinator.
State marine invasive species experts have already examined the skiff for signs of remaining aquatic life, especially those which may be invasive to Hawaii. Although no items connected to the 2011 Japan tsunami have shown above-normal radiation levels, out of an abundance of caution, state Department of Health officials also checked the boat for radiation.