PHUKET: A six-day expedition to replace a tsunami warning buoy that has been displaced from its anchorage in the Indian Ocean will depart Phuket on Monday.
“The buoy has been severed [from its base unit] for months,” said Surachai Srisarakham, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), in a statement issued yesterday.
“It took time to obtain the 20-million-baht budget for this project. The budget was approved just before the major protests [in Bangkok] started. This is the soonest we are able to send our staff out,” he said.
Mr Surachai did not speculate what may have caused the tsunami warning buoy to become detached from its anchorage in the Indian Ocean.
However, the buoy is still transmitting data, explained National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) Chief Somsak Kaosuwan.
“At last report it was located in the Indian Ocean, at 9º North, 89º East,” he told the Phuket Gazette
, placing the buoy in the middle of the Bay of Bengal.
“We will be sending our experts to install a new buoy and see if we can locate and salvage the old one.”
Mr Somsak assured that Thailand’s tsunami warning system remained effective.
“The missing buoy does not affect our tsunami warning effectiveness. We still have two buoys in the Andaman Sea. They are both working well,” he said.
“Moreover, we have very good relationships with neighboring countries in coordinating tsunami warnings. If there is a major earthquake that could cause a tsunami, we will be able to warn people within 15 minutes.”