A boat found on Crescent City’s shores was returned to its Japanese high school owners Tuesday, more than 2½ years after it was sucked out to sea during a 2011 tsunami, according to a Russian maritime news outlet.
Crescent City maintenance employees loaded the boat onto a Recology truck Thursday morning. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Students from Takata High School watched as the boat was taken to the Municipal Museum of Rikuzentakata, the heavily damaged town where the high school was located, according to Information & Analytical Agency PortNews.
With 1,844 people counted dead or still missing, Rikuzentakata experienced the second-highest death toll of any Japanese city from the 2011 tsunami following a massive earthquake.
The boat washed ashore last April south of Crescent City Harbor, which was heavily damaged by a tsunami spawned by the same earthquake.
Upon learning of the boat’s origin, students from Del Norte High School attempted to help return the vessel to Takata High School.
“Having it back I know would be incredibly meaningful only because the school lost so much — the city lost so much,” said Amya Miller, the city’s global public relations officer, shortly after the boat was found in Crescent City.
After hearing of efforts to return the boat, the transportation company Nippon Yusen Kaisha Group offered to assist in transporting the craft back to Rikuzentakata, where NYK Group members have participated in voluntary relief activities since October 2011.
“NYK then transported the boat from the port of Oakland in California to Sendai port in Japan. Yusen Logistics handled customs clearance operations and land transport for the project, and the boat was shipped over the Pacific via the NYK containership Spring R, which arrived in Sendai on October 13,” according to IAA Portnews.
Nobuhiro Watanabe, acting consul general of Japan in San Francisco, will visit Del Norte County next week to meet with members of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, which recovered the boat from the beach, and the students who worked to return it.
Takata and Del Norte high schools plan to continue exchanges that have started as a result of the boat.