Govt. draws up plans to reduce port damage

Japan's land and infrastructure ministry has drawn up measures to minimize port damage based on lessons from the 2011 major earthquake and tsunami.

The quake caused massive tsunami waves, which flooded ports in the country's northeast and the Kanto region.

A survey by the ministry found that more than 50 percent of ships moored at the ports failed to evacuate. Those ships crashed into wharfs or breakwaters or were driven ashore, causing major damage to the ports.

The ministry compiled a new set of measures to reduce such damage. It has already been working to make wharfs more resistant to earthquakes since the disaster.
The measures include mooring ships with their sterns pointing to the port to enable them to evacuate as soon as a tsunami warning is issued.

The ministry says this approach is already being taken in some piers in the city of Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture in central Japan.

The ministry also says that wharfs and revetments should be equipped with structures to mitigate impact in case ships crash into them. It also proposes setting up stockades on wharfs to prevent ships from running ashore.

But the ministry says it will take time and funds to build new facilities and equipment. It says it plans to revise its business continuity plan for ports as well.