Drifting Japanese fishing trawler first major piece of Japanese tsunami debris to cross the Pacific Ocean

by Simon Kent / via canoe.ca / March 31, 2012 /

It was almost as if the Marie Celeste had sailed back from the watery pages of history.

Seemingly, all of Canada saw the picture last Sunday of the 50-metre-long Japanese squid trawler adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

It was photographed by an RCAF surveillance aircraft about 260 km from Cape Saint James, on the southern tip of Haida Gwaii, B.C.

No crew, no navigation lights burning, no nets over the side and not a single sign of life. Just streaks of rust scarring a once pristine hull and a faint patina of age told the remarkable story of its voyage.

The ghost ship began its journey just over 12 months ago in violent circumstances. It was snapped from its coastal Hokkaido mooring in the aftermath of the March 11, 2011, earthquake that struck deep in the ocean off the Pacific coast of Tohoku.

It was the most powerful known earthquake to hit Japan and was followed by a devastating tsunami that flooded the coastline and estuarine areas before retreating out to sea, dragging millions of tonnes of debris in its wake. As recently as 10 days ago the devastation was still visible when Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the affected areas as part of his recent swing through Asia.

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