TVs, fridges and fishing boats: How TWENTY MILLION tons of Japan tsunami debris is closing in on Hawaii

Monday, October 24, 2011
By Paul Martin

Debris travelling faster than expected across Pacific
Russian ship’s crew spotted debris past Midway Islands
May strike Hawaii in two years and West Coast in three

By Mark Duell
24th October 2011

Televisions, fridges and furniture pieces are heading for Hawaii, as a huge amount of debris from Japan’s earthquake sails across the Pacific.

Up to 20 million tons of debris from the earthquake in March is traveling faster than expected and could reach the U.S. West Coast in three years.

A Russian ship’s crew spotted the debris – which included a 20ft long fishing boat – last month after passing the Midway Islands.

Computer model backed-up

Researchers at the University of Hawaii have been tracking the debris for almost half a year.

Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner were working on untested computer models of ocean currents to forecast the trajectory of the debris.

But last month’s sightings suggest their model works as the debris was spotted in predicted areas.

‘We have a rough estimate of 5 to 20 million tons of debris coming from Japan,’ University of Hawaii researcher Jan Hafner told KITV.

Experts have revised predictions to say the debris will now reach the Midway Islands by winter and Hawaii in less than two years.

Crew members on the Russian training ship STS Pallada spotted the debris 2,000 miles from Japan, including a fishing boat from Fukushima, reported AFP.

‘They saw some pieces of furniture, some appliances, anything that can float – and they picked up a fishing boat,’ Mr Hafner told KITV.

A crew member told AFP: ‘We keep sighting things like wooden boards, plastic bottles, buoys from fishing nets [small and big ones], an object resembling a wash basin, drums, boots, other wastes.’

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