The buoy, a Deep-Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART) buoy, was found to be out of position, and was not communicating information as it was supposed to. It was recovered by the MV SEAFDEC, which belongs to the Samut Prakan-based Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre.
Gp Capt Somsak Kawsuwan, Director of the NDWC, told The Phuket News yesterday, after the buoy had been brought back to Phuket, that it was not clear how it got out of position. However, it had been decided to replace it.
The new buoy will be positioned at the end of this month or the beginning or February. It takes three or four days to reach the site, which is around 1,000 km from Phuket.
The cost of the buoy – and of taking it out to the site and anchoring it – is expected to be B21 million. The buoy has a usable life of about two years after which it will have to be replaced again.
He added that there are two more functioning warning buoys in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Thailand, so people can be confident that an effective watch is still being kept for signs of an incoming tsunami.
The three buoys are part of a network of six buoys and 25 seismographic stations in the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System, all aimed at detecting and measuring earthquakes and sea movements to alert countries around the Indian Ocean of a possible tsunami.
India has a further four DART buoys in the Indian Ocean, but these have been the target of theft by fishermen who take parts from them, believing there may be precious metal they can sell, or who steal the anchors that hold them in place.