eCoast Receives Funding for Tsunami Research and Assessment in the Northland Region

Posted by | December 21, 2017 | News, tsunami | No Comments

eCoast Marine Consulting and Research are set to equip the Northland Regional Council with planning and assessment tools for a timely response in the event of a tsunami.

On November 27, 2017, The Ministry of Civil Defence approved a grant proposal by eCoast Director Jose Borrero to develop plans and products for the mitigation of tsunami hazards in ports, marinas and other maritime facilities in the Northland Region. The award is part of an initiative to fund innovative projects to help keep Kiwi’s safe from natural disasters.

The project will focus on creating a series of decision-making tools and flowcharts, known as ‘playbooks’, to assist Northland Regional Council (NRC) in rapidly assessing a potential tsunami threat and determining the appropriate response before the waves reach our shores.

“This work focuses on the threat to maritime facilities’ says Dr Borrero, “this includes assessing strong currents and surges that may affect ports or marinas without causing any overland flooding.”

“This part of the tsunami hazard is often overlooked as we have been primarily focussing on inundation from extreme tsunamis generated close to New Zealand. However, distant source tsunamis, coming from South America in particular, occur more frequently and pose a significant risk to boats, ships and other parts of the maritime infrastructure”.

The Northland Region is home to a large commercial port at Marsden Point, a busy cruise ship terminal in the Bay of Islands and several small boat and pleasure craft marinas, including Tutukaka which is a well-known tsunami ‘hot spot’ that consistently amplifies incoming tsunami surges.

In addition to the playbooks, the project will also develop maps showing areas of potentially strong currents and determine ‘safe’ depths for vessel evacuation.

“The goal is to develop a consistent procedure for dealing with tsunamis in the maritime community,” adds Dr Borrero, “after working out the system for Northland, this is something we hope to roll out across the country.”

The eCoast team is very excited and honoured to have won this award and they are looking forward to getting started on the work which will begin mid-2018 and continue through the end of the year.

Pictured above: A boat at Tutukaka leans heavily under the strain of tsunami currents during the 2011 Japan tsunami. Credit unknown.