Indian Ocean Wave Tsunami Exercise 2009

At the Fifth Session of the ICG/IOTWS (8-10 April 2008 in Putrajaya, Malaysia), the Member States recommended that an Indian Ocean-wide tsunami exercise be carried out in 2009. The ICG established an ad-hoc Task Team to consider and provide a detailed plan for the proposed Indian Ocean 2009 Exercise.

Exercise IOWave09 was an effective tool in evaluating the readiness of the IOTWS and identified changes to improve the efficiency of the system.

Exercise IOWave09 took place on 14th October 2009 coincide with World Disaster Reduction Day. To ensure that the National Tsunami Warning Centres in each Indian Ocean member states are fully prepared for the exercise, a tabletop exercise was conducted on 14th September using the same scenario that is used on 14th October.

Exercise Scenario

The purpose of Exercise IOWave09 was to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS), its operational Regional Tsunami Watch Providers (RTWP), National Tsunami Warning Centres (NTWC), and National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMO), in responding to a potentially destructive tsunami.

The Scenario simulated tsunami generated by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake off the northwest coast of Sumatra at 3.30ºN, 95.96ºE that occurs on October 14, 2009 at 0100UTC. An earthquake of this size would be likely to generate a tsunami with widespread destructive effects. Bulletins was issued in real time for approximately 12 hours until the simulated tsunami crossed the entire Indian Ocean.

Image Map

Maximum Energy Wave Direction with revised Earthquake Parameters (9.2 Mw)


There was a single exercise scenario played out in real time. All Member States are encouraged to participate. Participating countries followed either the exercise timeline or exercise on their own timeline to achieve their particular objectives.

The scenario replicate the major earthquake off the northwest coast of Sumatra on 26 December 2004 that generated a destructive tele-tsunami affecting countries from Australia to South Africa over the course of about 17 hours.

The Interim Advisory Service (IAS) providers (Japan Meteorological Agency and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center) issued bulletins for this exercise to all IOTWS NTWCs. RTWPs exchanged bulletins between themselves only. The timeline for issuance of IAS bulletins and the WMO GTS product identifiers for the bulletins were given in the manual. Estimated tsunami arrival times to all IOTWS countries were included in the IAS bulletins.

The initial bulletins that starts the exercise was issued by the IAS providers, however some countries close to the source could issue their own internal bulletins before the IAS bulletin. To avoid any possible misinterpretation, bulletins issued by the IAS was in a “dummy” exercise message format available inside the manual. Dummy messages was issued simulated the real message and continued being issued until the simulated tsunami has crossed the entire Indian Ocean and the exercise concludes.


18 Member States: Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Timor-Leste participated in the exercise.

Some countries including Kenya, Indonesia and Sri Lanka executed it down to the community level.

IOWave09 has only manual and no report was produced