13 Jan 2005

Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre boss praises staff

10:23 am on 13 January 2005

A senior US official has congratulated staff at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii for their response to the earthquake in the Indian Ocean that set off devastating sea surges.

The administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Conrad Lautenbacher Junior, yesterday toured the centre in Oahu.

Critics say the centre failed to tell endangered nations after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off Sumatra on December 26th.

But Mr Lautenbacher says scientists at the centre followed procedures and sent out a bulletin in about 15 minutes, reporting that the earthquake wouldn't set off a tsunami in the Pacific.