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Samoa’s only wave buoy out of commission after being ‘tampered’

The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System wave buoy off Aunu’u that was recently tampered with. It’s the only wave buoy in the Samoan waters.  [photo: Kimball Milikan/via Samoa News]
The wave buoy is important to help keep our community safe
Source: NOAA’s National Weather Service Office in Pago Pago

Two weeks ago, the PacIOOS wave buoy was intentionally tampered with before it broke free from its mooring. The buoy will be out of the water and out of commission until replacement parts arrive on island, NOAA’s National Weather Service Office in Pago Pago said in a media release this week.

Tepora Toliniu Lavata'i, Project Leader of Shore-based Fisheries, explains, “Please help us keep the buoy operational and avoid any unnecessary down time. We are asking ocean users to carefully navigate around the wave buoy, refrain from tying to the equipment, and avoid fishing near the buoy to minimize entanglement in the mooring line.”

The American Samoa wave buoy provides invaluable real-time information to agencies, such as the National Weather Service, and helps fishermen, commercial operators and other ocean users to make safe decisions. Located more than three miles off Aunu’u, the buoy provides wave height, direction, period, and sea surface temperature every 30-minutes.

“The wave buoy plays a critical role in protecting the lives and properties of our territory. It provides accurate information and a better understanding of how our local waters interact with our weather changing and climate,” says Hans Malala, Acting Meteorologist in Charge from NOAA’s National Weather Service Office in Pago Pago. “The Aunu’u wave buoy is the only wave buoy across the Samoan waters. Our office solidifies our trust on the Aunu’u buoy for it has a dependable source in times we issue warnings, watches, advisories and forecasts for marine interests and coastal areas of American Samoa.”

Dr. Matagi-Tofiga, Director of the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR), says, “As an island community, we all benefit from the wave buoy. It helps to keep us safe, both on land and in the water. Agency officials need this important data to warn community members of approaching storms and dangerous waves that could potentially impact the shorelines. The wave buoy also provides information on Rough Ocean the conditions that could threaten the safety of alia fishermen and alia boats traveling between islands, and helps to prevent incidents at sea.”

The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) owns and operates the buoy off Aunu’u and works in close collaboration with local and federal agencies to maintain the asset. The buoy is one of 14 real-time wave buoys across the Pacific that makes up the PacIOOS network. All information is available online and free of charge. Data streaming for the PacIOOS wave buoys is made possible through long-term partnerships between PacIOOS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Coastal Data Information Program.

On the Web

Aunu’u wave buoy:

About PacIOOS: