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December 2nd, 2011

Maritime Safety Implications of Floating Tsunami Debris

Researchers in Hawaii have confirmed that a massive floating island of tsunami debris from Japan is likely to hit the Hawaiian coast by the year 2013. Researchers are currently conducting more studies to more accurately predict exactly when the debris is likely to hit shore.

In September, a Russian ship sailing in the Pacific Ocean found the tsunami debris that included a 20-foot fishing boat, a refrigerator, and a television set. The debris was found floating in between Japan and the Midway Atoll. The crew members of the Russian ship recognized the debris as originating from the tsunami that hit Japan in March, from the markings on the vessel indicating that it came from the Fukushima prefecture.

Researchers have predicted that the debris will hit Hawaiian shores by 2013. The debris is predicted to then move along to the Western US and Canadian coasts the next year, before returning to Hawaii. The debris is estimated as weighing between 10 million and 25 million tons.

Not all of the debris is likely to float along to Hawaii. Like most other maritime debris, some of it is likely to sink into the sea. However, the difference between tsunami debris and other regular maritime debris is that tsunami debris consists of large and heavy objects that are not typically placed into the sea.

Therefore, researchers believe that the floating tsunami debris could have serious implications for maritime safety, specifically for ships that are sailing through these waters. There may also be implications for environmental health and marine life.

The maritime law lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  represent maritime workers injured in accidents across Texas and in global waters.

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