A 20-foot fishing boat that washed ashore near llwaco on Friday morning likely is debris from last year’s Japanese tsunami, and state and federal officials are keeping the public away as a precaution to prevent the spread of invasive species.
The vessel, found in three pieces on Benson Beach, was apparently broken up in the surf. Japanese lettering appeared on two of the pieces, including what appeared to be the wheelhouse, said Curt Hart, a spokesman for the state Department of Ecology.
The barnacle-encrusted hull was upside down, and the vessel resembled an old-style gillnet boat, he said.
“It is one of those things that, if it is from Japan, would make sense,” Hart said. “All the modeling shows that the things that will show up (on the Northwest Coast) first are going to be things like boats that are really buoyant and will be pushed faster by the winds and the current,” Hart said.
A state parks ranger and other personnel are keeping the public away to prevent scavengers from scraping anything off.
“That is one way invasive species can spread. This is a precaution. Look but don’t touch and keep a distance from it,” Hart said.
Ecology and an invasive species expert from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife will examine the boat this morning, Hart said.
The Coast Guard personnel sent to the scene by helicopter and foot determined that the wreckage did not threaten ships or people, said Petty Officer Nate Littlejohn, Coast Guard spokesman.