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Empty Japanese boat beaches in Taiwan after three years at sea
Central News Agency
2014-03-03 09:45 PM
Taipei, March 3 (CNA) The massive tsunami that struck northeastern Japan three years ago dragged many things into the sea, including a small blue boat that spent three years adrift before finally ending up on the shores of eastern Taiwan Sunday. The battered boat was found overturned on the shore of Daren Township, Taitung County. Wang Yao-tsung, a coast guard official stationed in the eastern county, said Monday that he was amazed at the discovery, describing it as "something out of a sci-fi story." Wang said he initially suspected the boat had been used to illegally land in Taiwan, but a military unit he asked to find further information determined the boat, MG3-44187, came from Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the areas hit hardest by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. How the empty vessel ended up 2,700 kilometers southwest on a beach in Taitung is unknown, but it likely took the long route over the years -- and may have first visited the western United States. Hu Jian-hwa, a professor at National Taiwan Ocean University, proposed three possible routes the boat could have drifted, with the longer logging close to 20,000 km. On that odyssey, the boat would have been carried to the northwestern coast of the U.S. before being picked up by the California Current to the equator, where it met with the Kuroshio Current that pulled it north to Taitung. A shorter route of about 10,000 km would involve the boat being carried on whirlpools to the equator before hitching a ride on the Kuroshio Current, while an even more direct path would have the whirlpools carrying it straight to Taiwan. It makes sense for the journey to have lasted three years since the boat could have been slowed down by the numerous whirlpools in the Pacific Ocean, Hu added. (By Tyson Lu and Scully Hsiao)
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