As tsumani warnings become more rapid and more stringent, Hawaii urges all vessels and ground crew in the harbor areas to evacuate immediately.  Heavy warnings remain in effect along the coast of Central Chile after massive earthquakes have already shaken the country and around 50 aftershocks have continued to hammer its population.  This earthquake is what precipitated the tsunami warning for the Hawaiian islands.

The tsunami could cause damage along coastlines of all Hawaiian islands and urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property according to tsunami.gov.

A tsunami is a series of long waves with each waves potentially cresting 5-15 minutes or more.  Extensive flooding is expected in coastal areas as a result of these waves.  Danger continues for many hours after the tsunami waves begin.  The waves will pick up debris and carry it, making these waves even more destructive.

Most tsunamis that affect Hawaii originate from seismically active areas around the Pacific.  In particular, areas where tectonic plates are in collision along the west coast of South America.  These plate collisions generate most of the world’s tsunamigenic earthquakes.  After a Chilean earthquake like the recent one, residents of Hawaii have time to prepare for an incoming tsunami (around 10 hours).  The United States government recommends that people stay tuned to local radio and TV to determine when and if they should evacuate to higher ground.

The tsunami waves are estimated to hit Hawaii at 11:05 am today, Saturday February 27, 2010.

Our firm’s thoughts and prayers are with the people of Chile in this time of great tragedy for their country.  We advise all seafarers and vessel owners and operators in Hawaii, Mexico and Southern California to stay abreast of the Coast Guard advisories and take all available precautions to secure your vessels and evacuate your crew from coastal areas.