New Straits Times

PM: WE’LL LOOK INTO FAULTY BUOYS

3 buoys written off and haven’t been replaced

- AZURA ABAS AND IRWAN SHAFRIZAN ISMAIL cnews@nstp.com.my

THE government will look into reports that three deep-water buoys worth RM7.2 million, used to gather data as part of an early-tsunami warning system, have been disposed of for being dysfunctio­nal and not replaced.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this at the launch of the 33rd Meeting of the Asean Committee on Disaster Management, and the 6th Asean Ministeria­l Meeting on Disaster Management and Related Meetings yesterday.

“We will check and look into it,” he said.

The New Straits Times reported that the installati­on of the Norwegian-made equipment was done in phases since 2006 in three locations: the Andaman Sea, the Sulu Sea and the South China Sea.

The buoys’ placement was to detect early tectonic plate movements under the sea, which could lead to tsunamis.

The tsunami buoy project, or tsunametre, was the result of a Malaysian-Indonesian collaborat­ion following the 2004 Aceh earthquake, which killed more than 230,000 people from 14 nations, including Malaysia.

However, one buoy — located 500km from Langkawi and 60km from Bandar Acheh, Indonesia, in the Andaman Sea, which was placed on Dec 30, 2005 — was recently found not to have transmitte­d data every 15 minutes, as it should.

An investigat­ion revealed that the equipment had disappeare­d from its original location.

Another buoy — placed near Pulau Layang-Layang, Sabah, near the South China Sea, on March 7, 2006 — suffered the same fate.

The buoys were written off as lost, having been either dragged away by sea currents or destroyed by vandals.

The third buoy — installed near Pulau Sipadan, Sabah, near the Sulu Sea in 2010 — had exploded during maintenanc­e on the MV Pendamar vessel, and was no longer in use.

Malaysia Meteorolog­y Department director-general Alui Bahari said the buoys’ contractor, Astronauti­c Technology (M) Sdn Bhd (ATSB), was forced to dispose of the buoys following the cabinet’s approval.

The decision to dispose of the buoys was made over multiple factors, including maintenanc­e cost, effectiven­ess and durability.

He said the buoys, each costing RM3 million, transmitte­d data via Immarsat C satellite through a telemetry system every 15 minutes.

Alui added that as a result, the buoys’ role and functions were taken over by an alternativ­e system, which combined tide gauges, coastal cameras and siren systems being installed in stages nationwide.

 ?? BERNAMA PIC ?? Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail with foreign delegation­s at the 6th Asean Ministeria­l Meeting on Disaster Management and Related Meetings in Putrajaya yesterday.
BERNAMA PIC Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail with foreign delegation­s at the 6th Asean Ministeria­l Meeting on Disaster Management and Related Meetings in Putrajaya yesterday.

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