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Tech & Science

Ghost ship swept out to sea by catastrophic tsunami in 2011 'washes up on beach with ALIENS on board'

Mirror logo Mirror 12/10/2017

Credits: Michael Havis © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Michael Havis A Ghost ship swept out to sea by a catastrophic tsunami in 2011 has returned more than six years – with some mysterious new creatures aboard.

The three-meter long craft was discovered drifting off the coast of Kauai, a Hawaiian island, and dragged ashore by surfers for scientists to inspect.

What they found was a faded manufacturer’s plate with Japanese lettering and a number of tiny, unidentified creatures clinging to the hull.

Now scientists believe the boat is debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami and the creatures are an invasive species, alien to Hawaii.

Dr Carl Berg, a senior scientist with environmental charity the Surfrider Foundation, inspected the plastic vessel at Anini Beach on Monday.

Credits: Michael Havis Credits: Michael Havis He said: “We got the photos which include the manufacturer's plate. The boat registration numbers were abraded off. Everything was abraded off bottom.

“I went there and scraped off some of the barnacles and red algae. I removed two black knobs that seemed to have very small encrusting organisms on them.

“Whereas the algae and barnacles are common open ocean species, we know nothing about the tiny organisms. The boat was removed and probably thrown in the trash.”

Now Dr Berg has sent specimens from the boat to Dr James Carlton of Williams College in the US state of Connecticut, an expert on invasive species.

He added: “Dr Carlton and I are pretty sure that the boat is tsunami debris. To verify, he is trying to get information from the metal plate.

“I have been supplying him with specimens for years. Dr Carlton and his team of experts will have to examine the specimens.”

Credits: Michael Havis © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Michael Havis It comes just days after Dr Carlton published a report finding that 289 species had been carried from Japan to the US aboard tsunami debris.

Among the hundreds of specimens he collected, some of which were provided by Dr Berg, were fish, crustaceans, algae, barnacles and jellyfish.

According to local media, living algae is a particular concern for Hawaii which has already been hit by a large amount of invasive algae.

Dr Berg said debris collected from Kauai’s beaches was typically sent to Honolulu to be burned in an incinerator and create energy.

The March 2011 tsunami off the coast of Japan claimed nearly 16,000 lives and more than 2,500 people remain missing.

It also caused £180billion of damage, including a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

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