Japanese fishing vessel swept away by tsunami found off Canadian coast


Officials have found a 150-foot Japanese fishing vessel near Queen Charlotte Island, B.C., which was swept across the Pacific Ocean after last year’s tsunami, Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office said Friday.


The ship was found some 120 nautical miles from the Queen Charlotte Islands. Cantwell's office said Japanese officials confirmed the boat came from there and was lost in the tsunami.


“This discovery is further proof that the U.S. government needs a comprehensive plan for coordination and response to the tsunami debris,” Cantwell said in a news release. “Coastal residents need to know who is in charge of debris response – and we need clearer answers now.


“Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Washington state depend on our healthy marine ecosystems. We can’t afford to wait until more tsunami debris washes ashore to understand its potential impact on Washington state’s $10.8 billion coastal economy. And we can’t afford to cut the NOAA marine debris program by 25 percent with no plan in place for Japanese tsunami debris.”


In 2010, the islands were renamed Haida Gwaii, their First Nation name, as part of a reconcilliation act between British Columbia and the Haida Nation. The islands are still colloquially referred to as the Queen Charlotte Islands.