We have all heard that tsunamis pass harmlessly beneath ships at sea, and that their true force doesn’t present itself until the seafloor rises to force the wave up and onto land. That is, until we saw this video shot aboard a Japanese Coast Guard ship following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake…

Now, just over two years later, NYK Line says it is launching a new tsunami alert system that will provide warnings to its vessels of any impending danger.

A screenshot of NYK's Tsunami Alert System

A screenshot of NYK’s Tsunami Alert System

Under the alert system, tsunami warnings issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency and other service providers will be sent via e-mail to vessels through the company’s NYK e-missions system, which provides information about the positions of vessels in operation and weather and sea conditions for the intended routes of vessels.

The warnings should allow affected vessels to determine the best course of action through communication with those on shore and use of the Tsunami-Response Guidelines NYK developed and released last year.

When a tsunami warning is issued, a tsunami alert will be sent to NYK vessel operators and about 800 vessels that make use of NYK e-missions system.  The vessel will then have a limited amount of time to correspond with those necessary and use the guidelines to determine the best action to take.

In addition, the vessels that could be affected by the possible tsunami are automatically displayed, and vessel operators and NYK’s Marine Group can immediately contact the affected vessels, share information with the ships, and provide any needed support.

This system will provide tsunami warnings issued for the Japanese coast in addition to warnings released by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, which will cover the entire sailing area of all vessels operated by NYK Group.

There’s no question that the scene shown in the above video will be repeated, but there is a question of when. And when it is, NYK says it will be ready.

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