The Japanese government has confirmed that the dock on the coast of Washington is from the Japanese tsunami of 2011. The dock was identified as coming from Aomori Prefecture based on a serial number in one of the photographs sent by the Marine Debris Task Force.
Scientists suspected the dock was from Japan due to similarities to the dock that washed ashore near Newport, Ore., last summer which was also confirmed to be from the Japanese tsunami.
When possible, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Agency works with the government of Japan to determine whether an item originated in the tsunami impact zone. To date, 19 items have been definitively traced back to the tsunami, typically by registration number or some other unique marking. This is the fourth confirmed item found on the shores of Washington.
In order to minimize damage to the coastline and marine habitat, federal agencies are moving forward with plans to remove the dock. In addition to being located within a designated wilderness portion of Olympic National Park, the dock is also within NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and adjacent to the Washington Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex.