2011/03/12

US Navy ship ordered out of port as tsunami looms

LOS ANGELES, March 11, 2011 (AFP) - A US Navy ship docked south of Los Angeles was ordered out into open water on Friday, as a precautionary measure due to a tsunami racing across the Pacific Ocean, a spokesman said.

The USS Dubuque was told to steam out of Seal Beach to safer waters in the Pacific ahead of the expected arrival of waves from the tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake near Japan, said Seal Beach police spokesman Steve Bowles.

There was no immediate announcement about movement of US Navy vessels docked further south down the California coast in San Diego, home to the Pacific Fleet.

The first waves from the tsunami were expected to hit California's coast from 8:30 am (1630 GMT), and authorities have urged residents to leave beaches and coastal areas and warned that sea currents could become hazardous.

The first waves would not necessarily be the biggest, experts say.

"Current intelligence indicates a 3-foot (one-meter) surge may impact the coastline of Los Angeles County," said county fire captain Sam Padilla, adding that heightened waves could continue for 10-12 hours.