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State needs help finding floating container off Windward Oahu

Published On: May 24 2013 05:30:36 PM HST
HONOLULU -

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is asking for the public’s help to locate a large item of marine debris that may be floating in the ocean off the windward Oahu coast and could approach land over the holiday weekend.

What appears to be a large container, possibly made of metal, is approximately 20-feet-long by 8-feet-wide, 8-feet-high and painted light blue. There is a small, square framed hole in the middle of its top surface that appears open and visible from a distance.  About 6-to-8-feet of the object are above water.  Its origin and contents are unknown at this time.  

 DLNR is working closely with its agency partners on the Hawaii Interagency Marine Debris Working Group, including the NOAA Marine Debris Program, U.S. Coast Guard, City and County of Honolulu Emergency Management, and others.

"We are asking people to immediately contact us with latitude and longitude (GPS) position and date and time of sighting, because we want to be able to take control of this large object before it can cause damage to a reef or introduce invasive species," said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

HOW TO REPORT A SIGHTING OF THIS OBJECT

Fishers, boaters and airplane pilots who spot the container are asked to immediately report position (if possible with latitude/longitude coordinates) to contact DLNR at (808) 587-0400.

E-mail dlnr.marine.debris@hawaii.gov and disasterdebris@noaa.gov to report date, time and position of any sightings including if possible, latitude/longitude coordinates. Your kokua will be greatly appreciated.

The first sighting of the container was reported on Saturday, May 18, 21 nautical miles off Ilio Point, Molokai.  On Sunday, May 19, another party reported seeing it about 30 miles from the head buoy at Kaneohe. On Tuesday, May 21, another report came in that it was sighted somewhere near MM FAD buoy off windward Oahu; however, no new sightings have since been reported.

Considering prevailing winds and currents, it could either move toward the windward Oahu shoreline or in a more westerly direction, possibly passing north of Oahu instead. Exactly where it will float to and when is very difficult to accurately predict.

Lifeguards have been notified of the possibility of the large marine debris item approaching Oahu shores. U.S. Coast Guard has issued a Broadcast Notice to Mariners to be on the lookout for this large object as a possible hazard to navigation.

NOAA has assisted in providing updated computer modeling for the possible location of the item.

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