Debris from last year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan continues to arrive on the Pacific Northwest coast, leaving U.S. and Canadian mariners on edge.
On Tuesday, a dock the size of a freight-train boxcar washed ashore on an Oregon beach. The 66-by-19-by-7-foot 165-ton concrete and metal dock managed to float 5,000 miles without reports that it was seen.
"Wow, how come we didn't know about it floating around out there?" John Chapman, a research scientist at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center, told The Associated Press. "It's definitely a dangerous marine hazard."
Click play for a report on the dock that washed up on shore.
Click play to hear a biologist describe what was found clinging to the dock or click here.
On Monday, people reported seeing the dock offshore near Agate Beach a mile north of Newport, Ore. Shortly after the dock made landfall at high tide it was checked for radiation and found to be negative.
A metal placard bearing Japanese writing was attached to the dock, and it was forwarded to the Japanese Consulate in Portland, Ore., for review.
The dock is the latest notable piece of debris to cross the Pacific.
A Harley-Davidson motorcycle in a crate came ashore in British Columbia. A soccer ball from Japan washed up in Alaska. In April, the Coast Guard sank a Japanese "ghost ship" that was floating in shipping lanes off Alaska's southeast coast.
It's a warning sign that debris from the disaster is reaching the U.S. coast much sooner than predicted, The Oregonian reports.
"This stuff is coming a lot faster than we thought it was," Tom Towslee, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), told the newspaper. "It's starting, and at least nine months ahead of schedule as far as I can tell."
Experts had thought it might be March 2013 before major pieces of debris hit the coast of North America.