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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Friday, 20 July 2012
in Mother Nature's Water

NOAA Grants Money to Assist With Tsunami Debris

NOAA’s Marine Debris Program will distribute $250,000 in grants to assist the five states along the yaquina head newport oregon sir douglascountry’s west coast that are expected to be impacted by tsunami debris from last year’s disaster in Japan.

Funds will be used to remove stuff such as the 132-ton concrete slab teeming with life that broke off from a Japanese dock and washed up on an Oregonian shore almost a month ago.  

The Japanese government reported that the March 2011 tsunami washed away an approximate 5 million tons of debris into the Pacific and of that astronomical amount about 70 percent sank. NOAA and the Japanese were kind enough to do the math for us and estimate 1.5 million tons remain floating a-sea in the North Pacific in an area “roughly three times the size of the lower 48 states.” However, this is not a concentrated amount of stuff: it’s likely been scattered and it will arrive on coasts north of the Main Hawaiian Islands and east of Midway Atoll over many years.

Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii will receive up to $50,000 apiece to use for cleaning whatever detritus happens to wash ashore.  NOAA says funds could be awarded as early as the end of this month.

“We continue to actively work with the states and other Federal agencies to address the challenges associated with tsunami debris," noted Nancy Wallace, director of NOAA's marine debris program via a statement last week. "We are pleased to be able to contribute funds to support states' efforts to respond to and remove marine debris, including disposal fees, cleanup supplies, and dumpster rentals. We remain dedicated to continuing our work with the states and others to address contingency planning, monitoring and research."

Scientists with the marine debris program were hard at work in the Northern Hawaiian Islands,  including the Midway Atoll, where they collected 50 metric tons of trash (mostly fishing gear and plastics) from the water and shorelines as part of an annual clean-up effort. The team specifically looked for tsunami debris and found no indication anything collected was from Japan.

“While we did not find debris with an obvious connection to last year’s tsunami, this mission was a great cutting turtle free NOAAopportunity to leverage activities that had already been planned and see what we might find,” said Carey Morishige, Pacific Islands regional coordinator for the marine debris program. “It’s also an important reminder that marine debris is an everyday problem, especially here in the Pacific.”

NOAA has earmarked some items collected to provide electricity through Hawaii’s Nets to Energy Program. The program has harnessed more than 730 metric tons of nets to create electricity since 2002. This is enough to power almost 350 Hawaiian homes for a year.

The public is asked to help report marine debris they think might be linked to the tsunami to local authorities or to NOAA via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Especially if the items are thriving with organisms that could prove to be invasive if left unchecked by experts.


NOAA reports that as of July 12th they have received 529 reports and only 10 have been linked to the tsunami.

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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