NOAA Asks Mariners to Safeguard Pacific Data Buoys

NOAA’s National Weather Service is asking the marine community to help safeguard its offshore buoys — which provide meteorologists with critical data for weather and tsunami forecasts — following a series of incidents where buoys were damaged or cut from their moorings.

Since November 2008, three weather buoys around the Hawaiian Islands have been damaged, and several tsunami buoys around the Pacific Rim stopped transmitting data after severe weather or commercial ships broke the mooring lines. Two weather buoys suffered serious damage and stopped sending data. A third weather buoy continues to transmit data, but has drifted thousands of miles to the west because of a cut mooring line. NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard have repaired many of the buoys, and the remainder will be serviced as soon as ship schedules permit.