UPDATE: Dr Prasong later confirmed that the tsunami-warning buoy was brought online at 1:50am Saturday (Jan 19), Phuket time.
Dr Prasong Thammapala, Scientist Senior Professional Level at the National Disaster Warning Centre (NDWC) in Bangkok, explained the situation to The Phuket News this morning (Jan 18).
“The tsunami-warning buoy was deployed at about 9am, but the buoy is not activated yet. It must be connected to the monitoring and warning system operated by the NOAA,” he explained.
“I contacted the NOAA in Washington, DC this morning and they said the buoy was not yet activated because of the government shutdown,” Dr Prasong said.
“As it is a new buoy brought online, it must be manually activated,” he added.
“The NOAA apologised for the inconvenience. They said they have limited staff working there right now who are already overloaded with work.”
At this stage Dr Prasong is hoping for the buoy to be activated by tonight, Phuket time.
“Hopefully they will treat this as an urgent priority and have the buoy activated by tomorrow morning, Washington, DC time,” Dr Prasong said.
“They gave their word to me that they would work as fast as possible to get the buoy online,” he said.