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Phuket officials play down broken tsunami buoy fears

PHUKET: Vice Governor Chokdee Amornwat today (July 25) played down concerns in response to repeated requests for updates on what was being done to repair a tsunami-warning buoy that stopped transmitting data in March.

By Suthicha Sirirat

Monday 25 July 2016, 08:03PM

“We checked with Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and received confirmation that they have been working on this and investigated why the buoy stopped sending data since March 22,” he said today.

V/Gov Chokdee said he had received repeated requests for updates following Facebook community “Phuket SOS”, which also uses the name “Phuket Quake Watcher” (click here), posting that tsunami-warning buoy 23401 was no longer operational.

“Phuket Quake Watcher recently posted on their Facebook page that tsunami-warning buoy no 23401, which is located about 1,100 kilometres west of Phuket, was not working. It has not sent back signal for the past 80 days,” V/Gov Chokdee said.

However, V/Gov Chokdee did not note that Phuket SOS posted the notice on June 21 – one day after The Phuket News reported that the National Disaster Warning Centre (NDWC) was aware of the situation but would have to wait until November, after the southwest monsoon had passed, before it could launch a mission to replace the damaged buoy. (See story here.)

“The NDWC will solve the issue by checking with other buoys in the area that are connected with the same system, especially the tsunami-warning buoys of India and Australia, which are near buoy 23401,” he said.

“Officials can also rely on the water-depth monitoring system off Koh Miang (Off Thai Muang in Phang Nga Province – click here) to confirm any tsunami activity and warn residents and tourists of any impending disaster,” he added.

“The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology will add more deep-water tsunami-warning buoys off the Andaman coast as soon as the weather permits and hopefully they will be able to do so latest by this November,” V/Gov Chokdee concluded.

The “same system” V/Gov Chokdee referred to is the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS, click here), established in 2005 up in the aftermath of the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2004.

The IOTWS initially provided data from its tsunami-warning buoys to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, operated under the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

However, although NOAA today still publishes data from tsunami-warning buoys including 23401 (click here), the PTWC ceased its role as the focal point for all data from tsunami-warning buoys deployed in the Indian Ocean under IOTWS in 2012 (click here).

Since then, IOTWS Regional Tsunami Service Providers comprising data from Australia, India and Indonesia tsunami-warning networks have been the principal source of tsunami advisories for the Indian Ocean (click here).



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Kurt | 28 July 2016 - 11:39:18

Bigaresort:  A spare buoy?  Oh no!
The thailand buoy, buoy nr 23401 is actually not even their own buoy. Thailand did not pay for it.
The buoy was given to Thailand. They not paid a single thb for it.
Thai have nothing with 'safety/prevention'.
Of course, what is given they take. 
But taking care?  Hahaha, you see how that works.
Perhaps by a direct PM order.

Kurt | 28 July 2016 - 10:47:59

Always remember: In thai mind setting YESTERDAY is forgotten, TODAY we sweet talk, lip service, and tell people things, we just hope they have forgotten it in a few months time, what is usual the case.
TOMORROW? What about tomorrow?
We can not even make a clear appointment to keep for tomorrow.
It is something you can compare with Alzheimer.
Please, forgive us. To soften it, call it 'cultu...

Bigaresort | 28 July 2016 - 08:10:15

I was thinking the gouverment had a spare bouy so they could once a year bing one out and bring the other one back for maintainance,

Ed Sanders | 27 July 2016 - 18:44:04

Classic Thai short-sightedness...a little over a decade after suffering a catastrophic tsunami, which was made worse by not having having a tsunami warning system in place, Thai officials can only downplay the importance of having a broken down warning system, and come up with excuses why they can't fix it.  Incompetence on a grand scale, for sure.

skip | 27 July 2016 - 07:38:33

if they really cared about the bouys, and not just avoiding negative media reports they would have a maintenance programme to change the batteries and service them annualy.once again the safety of tourists and residents is only a PR excercise to attract tourists. There is still no CCTV working on bangla rd ( since dec 2015 )to the beach rd police box. the criminals are having a field day assaultin...

Kurt | 26 July 2016 - 13:11:17

Actually Thai 'Official's 'play down' the whole  tsunami buoy 23401 need.
The 'Officials', not handicapped by any knowledge, tell us that buoy 23401 is not needed.
A fine example of thaines.

And the dumb excuse that right now the buoy can not be repaired due to west monsoon weather is a lame excuse. Yes, now it's the monsoon season, but in March it wasn't. Inco...

Rorii | 26 July 2016 - 06:50:57

"SSince then, IOTWS Regional Tsunami Service Providers comprising data from Australia, India and Indonesia tsunami-warning networks have been the principal source of tsunami advisories for the Indian Ocean."
I wonder why Thailand's "highly respected" system is not mentioned... wait, could it be that the othe systems actually work. SHAME  again on Thailand, showing again...

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