New B25mn tsunami-warning buoy ‘to be operational tomorrow’

PHUKET: A new tsunami-warning buoy costing B25 million that was deployed from Phuket yesterday (Jan 16) should be operational by tomorrow morning, feeding raw data to the National Disaster Warning Centre (NDWC) in Bangkok so that tsunami alerts or warnings can be issued if needed.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Thursday 17 January 2019, 02:05PM

The buoy was dispatched on board the boat MV SEAFDEC, which belongs to the Samut Prakan-based Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre. The boat was brought to Phuket for the mission to install the buoy some 290 kilometres offshore, where the previous DART II warning buoy was positioned.

The previous buoy ceased sending data two years ago.

“We will recover the old buoy and have it brought back to Bangkok,” Dr Prasong Thammapala, Scientist Senior Professional Level at the NDWC in Bangkok, explained to The Phuket News this morning (Jan 17).

“The buoy stopped sending data, so we sent a inspection team to see what was wrong. The team confirmed on Oct 25, 2017 that underwater parts of the buoy were damaged beyond repair,” he said.

“The new buoy will be activated to send a signal tomorrow morning. The buoy cost B25mn, which does not include the B12mn it will cost to dispatch the ship and have the buoy put in position,” he added.

The new buoy will replace the tsunami-warning buoy identified as “Station 23461”, which is the closest tsunami-warning buoy to the Thai Andaman coast. The buoy is located 290km offshore, Dr Prasong noted.

“The second buoy (Station 23401) is 960km away and is still working well,” he added.

“The new buoy being installed is an ETD (Easy to Deploy) model, just like the previous ones. It is just easy to install and saves time for the installation and technical process. So both buoys will work as the same,” Dr Prasong said.

“If a tsunami warning is issued from data sent by the first buoy, people will have 90 minutes to evacuate. If a tsunami warning is issued from data sent by the second buoy, people will have 45 minutes to evacuate.

“In addition, there is a Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System unit on Koh Miang (in the Similan Islands), which feeds information to the Royal Thai Navy,” he added.

Dr Prasong confirmed that all 19 tsunami-warning towers in Phuket are fully operational.

“There are a total of 129 warning towers throughout Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Ranong, Satun and Trang provinces,” Dr Prasong confirmed.

Asked why the new buoy was installed in November last year, as promised (see story here), Dr Prasong explained, “The plan changed due to three main issues: the weather, and the availability of the ship and the tsunami-warning buoy experts. All three of these issues needed to ready together.”

Dr Prasong explained the state of Thailand’s tsunami-warning preparedness at a conference held at the Novotel Phokeethra Hotel in Phuket Town, before the cast-off ceremony to dispatch the M/V SEAFDEC was held at Cape Panwa yesterday afternoon.

The conference was attended by Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) Director-General Chayapol Thitisak, who voiced his confidence in the tsunami-warning system

“With both buoys operational with the national tsunami-warning networks in the Indian and the Pacific oceans, we will get tsunami warnings in time,” Mr Chayapol said.

“It is a mechanism to prevent and reduce the impact of a tsunami by us being able to warn people early and accurately, causing people not to panic in response to rumours,” he said.

“This will help to build confidence in people and tourists in Andaman region,” Mr Chayapol added.

Dr Prasong concurred.

“There is no need for people to panic. Should an incident arise people are urged to follow news issued via the DDPM website or call the DDPM hotline 1784,” he said.



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Rorri_2 | 21 January 2019 - 18:53:59

"The buoys are just an abject waste of time and money," you could be right, but can you explain why?

Jor12 | 20 January 2019 - 22:08:07

The two clueless ones can babble on as much as they like. The buoys are just an abject waste of time and money.  

DeKaaskopp | 20 January 2019 - 19:41:25

",,,when you live high/dry" In your case i believe the being"high" state,"dry" i doubt.And if you don't believe that the other buoy is working correctly {live data available on the internet} than don't believe it. I don't see that you believe anything what officials say.

Kurt | 18 January 2019 - 15:50:20

Not matter of being worried/panic when you live high/dry.  A 1.5 year not working Tsunami buoy is not a matter of 'rumour', is not a joke, but of concern of the Governor! And that the other buoy is working correct, how to believe that?
Thai so good in non factual sweet talking. If something happens they are the first to say: 'Not my responsibility'. Spread feathers, and fly 

Rorri_2 | 18 January 2019 - 11:47:55

Station 23461 - ANDAMAN SEA - 180 NM NW of Phuket
Station 23401 - BAY OF BENGAL - 600 NM WNW of Phuke, neither would have detected the 2004 tsunami.

Rorri_2 | 18 January 2019 - 11:37:55

2014, neither of the buoys were working. Well, at least station 23401, is sending data, but is useless if a tsnami comes from the Sakraekrang fault line.

Rorri_2 | 18 January 2019 - 11:29:22

Smith Thammasaroj, a former head of the agency who warned in 1998 that south-east Asia could face a deadly tsunami, said giant waves would hit Thailand in less than 30 minutes if a mega-earthquake struck what is known as the Sakraekrang fault line that stretches from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean to southern Thailand and up to Myanmar.

Rorri_2 | 18 January 2019 - 11:28:56

"Don't panic,K.As the article says,there is one more buoy giving warnings even earlier," it depends on where the tsunami originates. Maybe "benzos" aren't the problem, maybe it's the ability to "think."

"“The second buoy (Station 23401) is 960km away and is still working well," does NOT mean it has "always" been operational "2...

Kurt | 18 January 2019 - 10:32:59

Readers here should not miss the statement that 1 buoy gives a 90 minutes warning, and the 2nd buoy just a 45 minutes warning. And is there no technology available to check daily or both buoys are operational for the job they are for? And, if not, to fix the problem within 3-4 days? Remember last disaster in indonesian waters because the buoys were not working.

Jor12 | 18 January 2019 - 07:57:08

If you had read the article, the second buoy has always been operational.  Perhaps they should have contacted you to co-ordinate the purchase and replacement?

Pascale | 17 January 2019 - 22:26:16

Don't panic,K.As the article says,there is one more buoy giving warnings even earlier.Seeing your anxiety about so many things here,i would recommend a higher dose of benzos.

Kurt | 17 January 2019 - 15:16:50

 From Oct 25, 2017 till today Jan, 17, 2019 there was that location no working tsunami buoy? Excused by official saying it needs co-ordination, . weather, availability of a ship, and the buoy experts? And that takes more than 1.5 years? Yes, that is reason for panic among people here. Don't panic, don't panic, we just have meetings about it. Built confidence?. What a shame full nonsense.

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