Derelict boat sighted off south coast near Bandon
A US Coast Guard helicopter crew spotted a portion of a boat, estimated at 25-30′ length, in the Pacific Ocean off the southern Oregon coast on March 16. After the Coast Guard attached a tracking buoy to the object March 18 and issuing a marine advisory, state and federal officials monitored it until Monday afternoon. The debris appears headed for the coastline and could reach the beach in the next 24 hours between Bandon and Cape Arago, though both the location and time are subject to change.
The craft, which could be the bow end, may have originated with the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan s east coast. If the derelict comes ashore on a sandy beach in the next day, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will contract with a local salvager to secure it, then remove it from the ocean shore. During the removal operation, the department asks beach visitors to respect the work zone and obey any temporary beach or road closures.
There’s no sign of any hazardous materials on board. Biologists with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Hatfield Marine Science Center will remove samples of plants and animals to check for potentially invasive species, and attempt to confirm the boat’s origins.
Invasive species expert Dr. John Chapman of Hatfield Marine Science Center told News Lincoln County that he’s traveling to Bandon tomorrow and will be a part of the scientific inquiry of what’s left of the small vessel. Dr. Chapman says after carefully examining the photo it looks like it was carried out to sea after the 2011 Japanese Tsunami waves pounded the east coast of Japan.
Dr. Chapman last week examined a tote box that washed up on the beach at Don Davis Park in Newport. He said he took samples of the critters that were still aboard it, logged them, then made sure that the tote was properly disposed of.