A fishing boat thought to be debris from the Japanese tsunami was checked for radiation and invasive species and soon will be on public display at Cape Disappointment State Park, officials said Saturday.
State health officials checked the boat for radiation Friday and found nothing above background levels, said Curt Hart, a spokesman for the state Department of Ecology. (The concern over radiation is because the earthquake that triggered the March 2011 tsunami also damaged a Japanese nuclear power plant.)
State parks workers on Saturday moved the fishing boat offshore to a parks maintenance area. The inside of the fiberglass hull was encrusted with gooseneck barnacles, a deep-water species, making it likely that the vessel came across the Pacific, Hart said.
Still, “we have not been able to conclude with 100 percent certainty that this boat came from Japan and this boat came from the tsunami,” Hart said.
Officials found a yellow life jacket aboard with handwritten Asian writing, and that and other Asian-style writing found on the boat are being forwarded to the Japanese embassy for possible identification, Hart added. However, there’s no certainty the craft or its owner will be identifiable.
The vessel apparently was made in the Philippines, based on manufacture’s markings found on the craft, Hart said.
Workers scraped barnacles off the hull and pressured-washed it. Invasive species biologists took samples from the scrapings and are most worried about a species of invasive crab and kelp. They’re also looking for pathogens that could damage shellfish native to the Pacific Northwest, Hart said. No report was available Saturday about their investigation.
Now that the hull has been cleaned, the boat is going to be on public display at Cape Disappointment State Park, most likely at Waikiki Beach, Hart said. However, he did not know precisely when and for how long the craft would be on display.