Malta Explores Possible Tsunami Agreement with CTBTO Head

Malta Explores Possible Tsunami Agreement with CTBTO Head

Malta is exploring a possible tsunami warning agreement with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) that would reinforce its ability to issue fast, accurate safety alerts if a tsunami should threaten the island country.

Visiting Malta from 8-10 May, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo discussed practical details of an agreement with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela, and the Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, Michael Farrugia, and assured them the organization was ready to support.

The CTBTO has so far concluded 16 formal tsunami warning agreements in 15 countries – most recently last month with Madagascar [read more here]. These allow data to flow continuously in real time from seismic and hydroacoustic stations in the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System to a designated national tsunami warning centre, helping the country to identify earthquakes or other seismic events that could cause a tsunami, and to issue timely public warnings.

Malta, lying at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, is interested in reinforcing its existing warning systems, particularly in light of recent research suggesting that an eruption of the Mount Etna volcano in nearby Sicily could trigger a serious tsunami.

Zerbo and the Foreign Minister also discussed linkages between two major challenges facing humanity – climate change and the threat from nuclear weapons – and explored Malta’s possible role as a bridge-builder 30 years after the historic Malta Summit that brought together U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

Zerbo gave a keynote address at the University of Malta on “CTBTO: Building a Safer Future through Non-Proliferation, Science and the Promotion of Peace”.