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Large metal object washes ashore near Naalehu on Hawaii island

Officials have yet to determine if it is tsunami debris from Japan

By Star Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 9:02 p.m. HST, Oct 7, 2012

State officials have yet to determine if a large metal object that washed ashore near Naalehu on Hawaii island is a piece of debris from last year’s tsunami in Japan.

The barnacle-encrusted structure was discovered by hikers on Wednesday, according to the Ka‘u Calendar newspaper.

The 20-by-12-foot structure could be a pontoon for a floating dock, observers said.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have reportedly been notified of the find but officials have not yet inspected it.

To date, only two pieces of debris discovered on Hawaiian shores — a large plastic bin found on Oahu and a 16-foot skiff discovered floating off Maui — have been confirmed as having originated in Japan.

An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris is floating in the North Pacific from the tsunami that resulted from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake off Japan on March 11, 2011.

Anyone who believes they may have found possible samples of debris from the Japan tsunami is encouraged to call (808) 587-0400, or send a picture of the debris with a detailed description of the object, date found, location and finder's contact information to

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