Prior to March 11, the sightseeing boat Hamayuri used to attract many tourists each day, leaving from its home port of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture, for a cruise along the coast.
But since the earthquake and ensuing tsunami that washed away a number of towns, the boat has been perched atop a hostel's roof in Kamaishi's neighboring town of Otsuchi. The town is trying to figure out the best way to remove the 27-meter-long boat before it collapses through the roof and causes further damage.
In order to be removed, however, the boat must be dismantled – despite miraculously being in perfect shape and working order.
According to Hideaki Kariya, 59, the boat's captain for 14 years, Hamayuri was in Otsuchi port when the tsunami struck. He had evacuated and from a vantage spot, he saw the boat tossed by the tsunami approximately six meters up in the air before it was carried into the town where it finally came to rest on the 2-story hostel’s roof.
To everyone’s surprise, however, the boat was not damaged even slightly. Nevertheless, the town has decided to dismantle it out of fear that the continuing aftershocks will cause it to crash through the hostel's roof. The boat will be cut up into pieces, which will be removed by a crane.
Kariya wishes that Hamayuri could have a different future. “It is still perfectly seaworthy, but I don't want to argue for it to be saved because that would cause too much trouble for everyone.”
In the tsunami aftermath, approximately 4,000 boats were displaced in Iwate alone. Prefectural officials are still searching for many of the owners.© Compiled from news reports