A tsunami-warning buoy worth Bt12 million will be installed off the coast of Phuket, to replace the one that had been broken two years ago, disaster officials said on Wednesday.
The buoy, which is on board the MV SEAFDEC that departed Phuket on Wednesday afternoon, will be installed 290 kilometres off the Phuket coast.
This buoy will replace the one that stopped transmitting signals after a passing ship crashed into it, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department director-general Chayapol Thitisak said before the MV SEAFDEC was sent on its mission.
Thailand has two tsunami-warning buoys, one located 290km northwest to Phuket coast and another located 190km away, he said.
Once both buoys are operational, along with the international network of tsunami-warning systems in the Indian and Pacific oceans, Thailand will be able to get tsunami warnings well in time, he added.
Chayapol said this expensive buoy will be protected from accidents by bright signs and will be marked in all shipping route maps.
He emphasised that Thailand’s tsunami-warning system was of international standards. “We also have more than 2,000 disaster warning towers along the coast. These are sufficient,” he said.“[In case Thailand is hit by another tsunami] the public should follow warnings from government agencies and not panic.”
The authorities learned that the previous buoy had stopped sending signals since October 2017, National Disaster Warning Centre director-general Suppapimit Paorik said.
After the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami devastated many countries, including Thailand, and killed as many as 230,000 people, the Thai authorities have been working to improve the Kingdom’s preparedness and relief measures, he said.