HONOLULU (AP) - A large plastic bin is the first confirmed piece of marine debris from last year's Japan tsunami to arrive in Hawaii, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday.
Japanese consular officials confirmed that the blue bin found earlier this week floating in the ocean is from Fukushima, said Ben Sherman, a NOAA spokesman in Washington, D.C.
It's the 12th confirmed piece to hit U.S. or Canada waters, he said.
The bin was spotted off Waimanalo, on the southeast coast of Oahu, by Makai Ocean Engineering staff and was retrieved by the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory. Used for transporting seafood, the 4-by-4-foot cube bears the name Y.K. Suisan Co. Ltd., the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said.
Nikolai Maximenko, a University of Hawaii researcher and ocean currents expert who is studying the trajectory of the tsunami debris, said the bin's arrival is consistent with his predictions for when the first pieces would get to Hawaii.
"It came at the right time, according to our model," he said.
"But in some sense, it could just be a coincidence."