Northern California Tsunami Response Update for March 17

SAN FRANCISCO – The Unified Command continues coordinated efforts in response to last week’s tsunami impacts to Crescent City, Santa Cruz and other affected coastal areas.

Operational priorities for this response include:

  • Ensuring the safety of responders and the public.
  • Assessing and mitigating potential pollution threats.

The public is asked to follow local officials’ directions and to avoid impacted coastal areas and harbors due to unstable conditions and debris hazards.

There are approximately 153 responders working in both Crescent City and Santa Cruz that includes personnel from the Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Game, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Harbor District and oil spill response organizations.

For public safety, landside and waterside safety zones remain in place for selected areas within the marinas of Crescent City and Santa Cruz. Boat owners must contact harbor masters for permission to access their vessels until the area has been deemed safe.

Aircraft from the Department of Fish and Game continue to conduct daily aerial surveys along the California coastal region from the California/Oregon border to Monterey. Aerial surveys help locate damaged vessels and identify pollution impacts.



  • The sunken 30-foot commercial fishing vessel, Tamara, has been raised and removed. Sunken vessel recovery continues as weather permits.
  • NOAA is using sonar technology to assess the harbor sea floor. Assessment will determine exact locations of navigational hazards, debris and shoal water to guide operations to make the harbor safe for mariners to transit.
  • Approximately 1,500-feet of hard and absorbent boom deployed to contain sources of sheen in the inner harbor and to mitigate harmful effects on the environment.
  • Underwater assessments continue to confirm locations of sunken vessels. Two contracted dive teams helped in locating and raising sunken vessels.
  • Significant amounts of debris were secured along the west side of the harbor for removal and disposal.
  • In the next 24-48 hours, heavy equipment and excavators will be moving into the harbor area to begin debris removal operations. Primary concern is public and responder safety.
  • No pollution threats have been identified in San Cruz pending NOAA assessment.
  • 70 percent of the docks are open for public access
  • Debris removal continues.
  • High surf advisory today may impact operations however, normal activities will resume when weather stabilizes.





  • 47 vessels afloat but with some level of damage
  • 15 known sunken vessels; additional assessment for additional sunken vessels ongoing
  • 1 vessel grounded at mouth of Elk River
  • Large debris including rocks, logs, and vessel debris scattered about inner harbor and shore
  • Navigable waters status unknown; boaters should use extreme caution transiting the area
  • Significant damage to moorings and docks

  • 10 vessels sunk
  • 8 vessels recovered
  • Estimated 100 vessels afloat but damaged. All floating vessels are secure
  • No injuries have been reported
Wildlife: No observed wildlife impacts at this time. Assessments will continue. Wildlife: No impacted wildlife at this time. Crews continue to monitor.
Crews deployed: U.S. Coast Guard, California Fish and Game, Harbor District Personnel, NOAA, oil spill response organizations. Crews deployed: Coast Guard, California Fish and Game, Harbor District Personnel

Cleanup photos can be viewed at

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