Removal of beached dock from Japanese tsunami set — but depends on weather, tides
By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
Print This | Email This
FOUR DAYS OF arts and music comes to Port Angeles — buy your tickets now! (And . . . FREE pre-festival show Thursday) -- 5/20/13 -09:47 PM
Hip-hop to Port Angeles: A free warm-up for Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts -- 5/20/13 -09:45 PM
10 to receive Jefferson County Heart of Service award today -- 5/20/13 -09:38 PM
1 killed, 5 hurt in construction zone on U.S. 101 -- 5/20/13 -06:20 PM
Last of Port Angeles' video-only stores closing after 21 years -- 5/20/13 -06:29 PM
The 185-ton dock — confirmed debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan — landed on a remote beach within Olympic National Park and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary between the Hoh River and LaPush.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which runs the sanctuary, hired the Undersea Co. of Port Townsend to lead the project.
Removal of the 65-foot-long, 20-foot-wide, 7½-foot-tall dock could begin as early as this week, “but it's really going to depend on the weather and the tides,” said Keeley Belva, NOAA spokeswoman.
The Undersea Co. will work with the sanctuary, national park and state agencies to dismantle the dock.
Pieces will be carried away by a helicopter to a site that is still to be determined, Belva said.
“We'll know more about the process later [this] week,” she said.
“Right now, we're trying to get the contract worked out.”
Dismantling safest way
Dismantling the dock was determined to be the safest and most efficient way to remove it because of concerns that the dock is no longer seaworthy.
It has been battered by surf since it washed ashore near the mouth of Mosquito Creek, north of Hoh Head.
More than 500 pounds of non-native organisms were scraped off the surface of the dock, which is made of a Styrofoam-like material encased in steel-reinforced concrete.
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the National Park Service will each pay $75,000 toward the $628,000 dock removal.
The remaining $478,000 will come from the Japanese government.
If the weather cooperates, the dock will be removed by the end of this month.
“Although the dock has stayed in the same general location since its arrival on the beach, there is potential for changing tides and waves to move the dock and batter the coastline,” said Carol Bernthal, sanctuary superintendent, in a written statement released Friday.
“The intertidal area of the Olympic Coast is home to the most diverse ecosystem of marine invertebrates and seaweeds on the west coast of North America.
“By removing the dock, we hope to minimize damage to the coastline and marine habitat.”
Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum added:
“Removing a piece of marine debris of this magnitude is possible only through the coordinated efforts of many agencies.
“Without the support of our state and federal partners, the quick and effective response and removal of the dock from our wilderness coast would not be possible.”
Based on a serial number, the Japanese government identified the dock as coming from Misawa, a city of about 40,000 on the northern tip of the island.
The dock is the fourth confirmed piece of large tsunami debris found in Washington state.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: March 03. 2013 12:53AM