Saturday , September 18 2021

A Japanese Olympic venue was flooded with oysters, leading to R20 million in repairs



Argentine Women’s Rowing Team Athletes in Action During Training at Sea Forest Waterway on July 18, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

Maja Hitij / Getty Images

  • Japan has removed 14 tonnes of oysters from wave-blocking barriers at a location at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • The barriers sank unexpectedly in mid-2019 immediately following the construction of the course.
  • The clean-up cost officials 140 million yen, or about R20 million.
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An upcoming Olympic venue in Tokyo needed R20 million in September for emergency repairs due to an oyster attack.

Olympic rowing and canoeing are set up on the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay, a location specially built for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Japanese workers place floating barriers around the water to prevent waves from hitting the athletes in the middle of the row, but two-thirds of the floats sank unexpectedly after 14 tons of oysters attached to the barriers. According to Kyodo News, the oysters thrive in the unique high salt water and local phytoplankton conditions in the Sea Forest Waterway.

The Sea Forest Waterway is located in a region that was formerly home to several seaweed farms and fishing grounds, and a large oyster reef sits just five kilometers from the Olympic site. Despite a local delicacy, officials told The Asashi Shimbun that the discovered oysters were not eaten.

“We considered not consuming them,” the official said. “That would include security checks. More importantly, we do not want to grow oysters, but work to contain them.”

Japanese officials said they did not expect the oysters to affect the upcoming games, as the current driving barriers were placed after the time young oysters adhered to a solid surface, although they said they expected to spend 160 million yen a year , or a little over R20 million, on maintenance for the Sea Forest Waterway.

The waterway will be used in August 2021 for the Paralympic Games and as a location for future water sports competitions in the region. The Asashi Shimbun said local officials are considering electrolyzing seawater to try to stop the oysters in the future.

The first Sea Forest Waterway Olympic event is set for July 22 for single-, double- and square-heats. The opening ceremony is scheduled for one day later on July 23.

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