HONOLULU — The public is advised to use extreme caution and prepare for the onset of heavy weather expected to generate extreme sea conditions, storm surge and high surf throughout American Samoa prior to the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Amos.
The Coast Guard federal on-scene coordinator overseeing the salvage operations for the 61-foot fishing vessel Ji Hyun has directed it to be anchored and ballasted in place, due to the approach of Amos. Ji Hyun ran aground on the west of Aunu’u Island in the National Marine Sanctuary after losing propulsion, April 14. All seven crewmembers were able to walk off the vessel to shore without sustaining any injuries. So far, a salvage company has successfully removed 2,410 gallons of diesel fuel and 259 gallons of hydraulic oil. Workers rigged the vessel with emergency lighting to prevent it being a potential navigational hazard. The vessel holds a maximum potential of just over 3,000 gallons of diesel, 55 gallons of engine oil, 55 gallons of hydraulic oil and a 10 pound tank of Freon are identified are identified along with assorted potential hazardous waste (fire extinguishers, paint cans, flares and batteries). Once the storm has passed, responders will resume efforts to recover all of the hazardous waste on board.
The Coast Guard captain of the port strongly advises vessels of 300 gross tons or more to depart the port until the storm has passed for safety concerns.
Once the storm begins to impact the island, emergency responders may not be able to immediately assist those in danger. The public is urged to heed all evacuation orders. Mariners should seek safe harbor and shelter.
Additionally, mariners should secure their boats and boating equipment. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to protected marinas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or to be otherwise damaged. It may be advisable for smaller boats to be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding and is protected. Regardless of location, all loose items aboard vessels should be secured or removed.
Residents and visitors to American Samoa should heed all warnings from public health and safety officials. Although weather conditions may be good, rip tides and high surf may impact beaches far in advance of the actual storm. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and currents caused by storms. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe. Local waters can also become contaminated due to runoff for several days following a storm.
Mariners and beachgoers should monitor the progress and strength of the storms through the internet, local television, newspapers and radio stations. Boaters can monitor the progress of the storms on VHF channel 16. Small craft advisories and warnings are also broadcast on VHF channel 16.
For more information on tropical cyclone preparedness, visit the National Hurricane Center’s Web page at http://ift.tt/riqYHz.