UPDATE: Helicopter crew members on board the fleet of US aircraft carriers off the coast of Japan have been exposed to the equivalent of a month’s worth of radiation after coming within the danger zone of one of the country’s damaged nuclear reactors, reports KCAUTV.
Ships sailing nearby confirm safety of passengers following the Pacific-wide tsunami alert.
All cruise ships sailing in the Pacific have confirmed the safety of their passengers and reported little impact from the tsunami, triggered after the major earthquake off the coast of Japan’s Honshu island on Friday.
Both Azamara Quest and Queen Mary 2 were in Japanese waters when the earthquake hit. QM2 was scheduled to call at Nagasaki, more than 1000 kilometres from the quake’s hardest hit areas, on March 12, however QM2 instead sailed for its next call – Xingang in China – where it will arrive today.
Meanwhile, Azamara Quest was docked in Nagasaki at the time but departed on Friday as scheduled. She sailed to nearby Fukuoka, which is also on the north shore of the southern Japanese island Kyūshū, and is currently en route to Busan in South Korea where she is expected to arrive at 7.00pm tonight.
“No Royal Caribbean, Celebrity or Azamara ships have been directly affected by the earthquake, or by the subsequent tsunamis,” said Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez in a statement.
The reason for this is because being out to sea when a tsunami strikes is probably the safest place to be. When an earthquake causes the ocean to “ripple” away from its epicentre, the rolling waves flow out at high speed but do not break – somewhat comparable to a sudden rise in tide. It is not until the ripples comes up against the land that the water doubles up causing devastating damage to all in its path.
Across the Pacific in Hawaii, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Pride of America left the port of Nawiliwili, Kauai to sail at sea when news of the earthquake reached the island nation. She then returned to shore once the threat had passed.
We’ll keep you updated with news as events unfold.
Most of all, our thoughts are with the Japanese people as they come to terms with this natural disaster.