Blue Plastic Bin Confirmed as First Piece of Japan Tsunami Marine Debirs to Arrive in Hawaii

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Staff from Ocean Engineering at Makai Pier, Waimanalo tow in a large blue plastic bin seen floating in the ocean between the pier at Manana island. Photo courtesy Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory.

REPORT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES – Due to the kind and quick assistance of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu and the Japanese government, a large blue plastic storage bin found floating in the ocean off Waimanalo, O‘ahu, on September 18, 2012, has been confirmed as belonging to Y.K. Suisan, Co., Ltd., whose offices in Miyagi prefecture, Tohoku Sendai region, were affected by the March 2011 Japan tsunami.

It is the first confirmed piece of Japan tsunami marine debris to arrive in Hawai‘i.


“The Department of Land and Natural Resources, NOAA and all other agencies involved in this matter extend their appreciation for the generous help provided by the Japanese Consulate and Government,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “It is encouraging that our agencies and governments are working together so cohesively in identifying potential Japan tsunami marine debris.”

The 4-foot cube bin, which is used for transport of live and frozen seafood, was spotted mid-way between Manana Island and the nearby pier by Makai Ocean Engineering staff and retrieved by the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory.

The bin was taken by DLNR aquatic resources personnel to its research facility on Sand Island, where samples of marine organisms were identified as common pelagic species of gooseneck barnacle and crabs that live on floating debris in open ocean areas. They were identified as not invasive to Hawai‘i. The bin was cleaned, and a scan of the bin by state Department of Health technicians showed radiation readings were within normal background levels.





  1. The best part is that, despite all that time at sea, the bin still looks in pretty good shape. I wouldn't be surprised if some Hawaiian was putting it to good use somewhere.

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