Fisheries Agency mulls tsunami alert procedure

The China Post news staff

Taiwanese authorities conducted a checkup of the tsunami alert system for fishing vessels and fishery ports nationwide, while drafting a standard operating procedure for tsunami warnings in the wake of a devastating tsunami triggered by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake that crippled Japan’s northeastern shore. Currently only some of the 225 fishery ports and 39 fishery associations in Taiwan and the outlaying islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu are equipped with broadcast systems needed to provide tsunami alerts, said Sha Chih-yi (沙志一), head of the Council of Agriculture’s Fisheries Agency. The government planned to send personnel to inspect broadcasting systems nationwide starting yesterday and to help set up such systems at ports and fishery associations as needed, he said.

Once a tsunami warning is issued, the Fisheries Agency will inform fishing vessels immediately through radio stations or radio communication systems and advise them to take appropriate actions depending on their locations. Vessels should keep as much distance from the shore as possible. If there is time, docked large vessels should try to sail to the open sea to minimize the lost of boats and personnel. However, for people on smaller docked vessels, the best course of action is to abandon ship and escape to high ground, Sha explained. The Fisheries Agency will also work with fishery associations and local leaders to spread tsunami warnings as quickly as possible, Sha said, while adding that the agency will keep a close eye on the response measures used by the Japanese authorities after the March 11 tsunami in order to learn from the disaster.