NEW YORK - The staff and facilities of a marine paint-testing center in Southeastern India affiliated with U.S.-based research and development company Poseidon Ocean Sciences, Inc., survived the deadly tsunami of December 26, 2004.
The operations of the Sacred Heart Marine Research Center (SHMRC) located in the port city of Tuticorin, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, is an exclusive collaboration with Poseidon Ocean Sciences. A new laboratory was constructed in 2003 to support Poseidon's static and dynamic testing of marine paints. SHMRC's director is Sister Avelin Mary, Ph.D., a Catholic nun and a noted marine scientist in India.
The December 26 earthquake off the northern coast of Sumatra generated a tsunami that killed 10,000 people along the coastline of Tamil Nadu. Tuticorin's port facilities and the villages adjacent to SHMRC were devastated by the 20-foot waves. SHMRC facilities and personnel at the station survived.
The day the tidal wave struck, SHMRC and Poseidon personnel were in the laboratory, conducting routine panel inspections on the floating ocean platforms. In a brief phone call to Poseidon in New York, Sister Avelin Mary reported that the sea was rising unexpectedly fast. The call was cut off, and it was not until the following day that a full account of the events was received.