Coast Guard Responding to Earthquake and Tsunami in American Samoa

Honolulu – Coast Guard and FEMA personnel were scheduled to leave Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on a C-130 last night bound for earthquake and tsunami ravaged American Samoa.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. John Titchen said the primary mission of the trip was to assess the damage and provide assistance to the port of Pago Pago, which is under the jurisdiction of Captain Barry Compagnoni, the Captain of the Port of Honolulu and Pago Pago.

“Our primary focus is to ensure the port is operational,” Titchen said. “Like any other island community in the Pacific, it’s very dependent on shipping (and) the maritime industry for supplies and things like that.”

Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Pago Pago is a three member unit tasked with conducting maritime inspections and regulatory operations.

“Reports are that “a 10- to 15-foot wave swept through the port causing several vessels to go around, including several commercial vessels,” Titchen said. “We were able to determine there’s not a significant threat from oil spills just yet but any vessel aground with fuel aboard poses a threat.”

The Coast Guard has not made an assessment of any structural damage caused by the earthquake, Titchen said. There is a tuna cannery on the island “but so far, from what we’ve seen, there’s no significant damage to the cannery or any of the refueling facilities in the port.”

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