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Tsunami debris research expedition sailing in May

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 5:32 a.m. HST, Mar 1, 2012

Researchers are planning to sail from Japan to Hawaii to study debris dragged out to sea by tsunamis on March 11 last year. 

They’re expected to leave Tokyo in late May and arrive on Maui about a month later. 

Ocean Conservancy marine debris specialist Nicholas Mallos is joining the expedition.

He said in a statement Wednesday models exist to predict where the debris is, but it’s not clear what’s still floating. He says the expedition will provide a snapshot of what may wash ashore later. 

Nonprofit organizations 5Gyres and Algalita are organizing the expedition with Pangaea Explorations, a group that supports marine conservation and education. 

Ocean currents are carrying much of the debris eastward across the Pacific Ocean. Scientists estimate pieces could land in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands this winter. 

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