Faulty tsunami buoy off Phuket’s coast doesn’t affect Thailand’s early warning system

Photo courtesy of Royal Thai Navy

Phuket’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation assured that despite a malfunction in one of the tsunami buoys deployed in the Andaman Sea, the country’s tsunami early warning system remains fully operational. The faulty buoy, identified as No.23461, is 340 kilometres off Phuket’s coast and ceased transmitting signals last Wednesday, as the Foundation of National Disaster Warning Council reported.

The council expressed concerns that the malfunctioning buoy could leave Thailand vulnerable to tsunamis generated by earthquakes in the region. However, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation clarified on a social media post that the buoy had stopped transmitting signals due to a positional issue, and this would not impact the country’s tsunami early warning system.

The department elaborated that the system depends on data from several buoys in the Andaman Sea and other agencies, including the Royal Thai Navy’s Hydrographic Department.

“Our tsunami buoys also share information with other agencies both at home and abroad.”

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This shared information is utilised to create a tsunami model for boosting officials’ capacity to generate early warnings for six provinces along the Andaman coastline, namely Satun, Trang, Krabi, Phang Nga, Ranong, and Phuket, in the event of an earthquake with tsunami potential, reported Bangkok Post.

The department further reported that its officials, aided by naval staff, have successfully retrieved the faulty buoy from the sea for repairs. A replacement buoy has been procured from the US, expected to be delivered to Thailand in March.

However, the new buoy’s installation will be delayed due to the monsoon season’s adverse weather and sea conditions in the Andaman Sea, which typically occur between July and October. The installation will be conducted by foreign experts, as per the department’s information.

In related news, a rare oarfish discovery near Adang Island, Thailand dispelled a tsunami myth. The deep-sea creature found in the Andaman Sea prompts scientific study.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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