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Fishing boat adrift for nearly 10 years after 2011 tsunami found off island south of Tokyo

A small boat which was found off Hachijo Island, south of Tokyo, nine years and nine months following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake is shown in this photo taken in the town of Hachijo on Dec. 12, 2020. (Mainichi)

HACHIJO, Tokyo -- A small fishing boat which had been swept away from Miyagi Prefecture by tsunami following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake was discovered off Hachijo Island, south of Tokyo, nine years and nine months after the calamity.

    The local fisheries cooperative checked the vessel's registration number and confirmed that it is a boat belonging to a fisheries cooperative branch in the northeastern Japan city of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, approximately 650 kilometers north of the island. A massive amount of coral was attached inside the boat, drawing interest over what route the boat took before arriving off the island.

    The vessel was brought ashore by the Hachijo fisheries cooperative after it was found drifting near Yaene port on the island during the evening of Dec. 10. The boat is made of fiber reinforced plastic, and measures about 5.5 meters long. The boat's interior was covered in coral, while at least one Indo-Pacific sergeant -- a fish that is also seen near Hachijo Island -- were found swimming in the puddles of sea water inside the vessel, as well as crabs.

    A resident of the island who is an expert on ocean currents said, "It can be estimated that after the boat was swept away to an area near the U.S. West Coast, it moved to Southeast Asia on the North Equatorial Current, and then washed up here on the Kuroshio Current."


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