TOPShip stranded by tsunami set to be scrapped

Ship stranded by tsunami set to be scrapped

By Alec Jordan

Workers in Japan began tearing down a 60-meter fishing vessel that stood as a poignant reminder of the devastation left by the tsunami in the city of Kesennuma two years ago.

A blessing ceremony was held before workers began taking the Kyotoku-maru apart piece by piece. The dismantling work is expected to last until October 19, according to officials.

Local media said raw materials salvaged from the ship will be recycled, and the proceeds will partly pay the 50 million yen ($500,000) dismantling bill.

The Kyotoku-maru has drawn tourists to Kesennuma, and has become something of a memorial to the earthquake and tsunami, in which more than 18,000 people perished.

But most residents saw it as a painful reminder of the horror of March 2011 and voted to finally take the ship down from where it had landed amid the rubble.

I personally feel such disaster remains should be preserved so that we can keep our memories of the tsunami alive as a bitter but important lesson,” said Shunsuke Kumagai, an official at the city’s tourist information center.

“But it can’t be helped as the feeling of a majority of residents is more important than anything else.”

The owner of the ship apologized for the memories the ship may have brought back.

“I apologize for troubling disaster sufferers with the presence of the ship, but it helped show the dangers of the tsunami,” the owner was quoted by Jiji Press.

The Kyotoku-maru was swept around 500 meters inland by the tsunami.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image of the Kyotoku-maru: Héctor García/Flickr