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Leaking fuel tank washes up on Kauai

LIHUE, Hawaii >> Emergency crews responded to examine the contents of a leaking fuel tank that washed up on a Kauai beach.

The aluminum tank washed up Wednesday on Waipouli Beach near the Courtyard by Marriott Kauai at Coconut Beach hotel, Kauai County spokeswoman Sarah Blane told The Garden Island (http://bit.ly/14H2eb6).

“The container had approximately five gallons of a liquid inside,” she wrote in an email. “Caution tape was posted around the tank while HAZMAT crews investigated.”

Carl Berg, the Japanese tsunami marine debris coordinator for Surfrider Kauai, and Kauai District Fisheries Biologist Don Heacock were the first responders.

“We moved it to make sure it wouldn’t wash back out,” Berg said. “To us, it definitely smelled like diesel fuel, but the tank was not really very heavy.”

Japanese characters on the side of the tank and the large amount of marine growth led Berg to conclude that the tank came from Japan after the March 2011 tsunami.

“It did have a hole in it, so it could have leaked the contents out onto the beach or reef,” Berg said.

The concentration of barnacles and seaweed indicated the tank had not been full of liquid recently.

“It wasn’t floating submerged,” Berg said. “It was two-thirds of the way out of the water.”

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