The staff and facilities of Sacred Heart Marine Research Center (SHMRC), a marine paint testing center in southeastern India, survived the deadly tsunami in late December. SHMRC, an exclusive collaboration with Poseidon Ocean Sciences, a U.S.-based research and development company, is located in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India. Of the more than 200,000 people killed by the tsunami were 10,000 along the coastline of Tamil Nadu.
When the tidal wave struck, SHMRC and Poseidon personnel were in the lab conducting routine panel inspections on the floating ocean platforms. Multiple cables connecting to anchors to the seabed were strong enough to withstand the force of the high waves, protecting the personnel who were on the testing platform. A new lab built in 2003 to support Poseidon’s marine paint testing, was spared from flooding since the base of the building was elevated 20 feet from the surf zone.
“The sisters and staff working at our Indian marine research center survived through the tsunami that passed through Tuticorin. The shore facilities sustained minor damage and the ocean platforms remained intact,” said SHMRC director Sister Avelin Mary, a Catholic nun who is also a noted marine scientist in India.