Ocean Decade Laboratory "A Safe Ocean” from 5 -7 April: How to handle an ocean beyond our control

The fifth Ocean Decade Laboratory “A Safe Ocean” deals with the safety of people living close to the ocean or who depend on it for their livelihood. Safety means being prepared for some of nature’s most powerful forces.

Starting on Tuesday, 5 April at 10 pm (CEST), a three-hour Core Event will begin with an eyewitness report of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano eruption and the subsequent tsunami in the South Pacific in January 2022. As the underwater volcano erupted, smoke and dust erupted from the water and could be heard on Fiji, 500 kilometres away. Seismic instruments on the German island of Helgoland - literally at the other end of the earth - registered the shockwave. The subsequent tsunami caused widespread destruction to buildings on shores as far away as Peru.

“We just can’t stop an earthquake or a volcano eruption or a tsunami from happening,” says Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, Deputy Director of the International Tsunami Information Center, Caribbean Office and one of two hosts of the Ocean Decade Laboratory. “They are natural events, even if the consequences are disastrous. But we can prepare for the impact of such events and limit the scale of the disaster. We can provide warning systems or training for the people living in potentially affected areas. This is something which is in our hands.”

Her co-host Burkard Baschek, Director of the German Ocean Museum in Stralsund adds: “It is a question of trying to go through all possible consequences, to try to think the unthinkable before it happens.”

The Core Event focuses on the Caribbean region, highlighting experts, actors and best practices from this vulnerable region. It will include several lectures and discussions on this topic such as “How To Prepare For The Unexpected”, “Integrated Coastal Hazard Early Warning Systems and Services” and “How To Get The Community Ready.”

A series of Satellite Activities hosted by academic institutions or other stakeholders from all over the world follow the Core Event. Satellite Activities range from “Safety for Fishers” and “Importance of Multiannual Tsunami Exercises for a Safe Ocean” to “Oil Spill Incidents at Sea: Impact and Mitigation”.

Finally, a 90-minute Wrap-up on 7 April will summarize the Core Event and the Satellite Activities and present key findings.

A Safe Ocean: 5 – 7 April 2022

  • Please register here to receive further information on the event.
  • If you already took part in one of our previous Labs, please log in here with the details you used for registration.
  • An overview of all Satellite Activities can be found here.