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Ventura Board of Port Commissioners Pass Emergency Resolution After Tsunami

The board passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency after the Jan. 15 Hunga Tonga Tsunami.

VENTURA一 The Ventura Port District Board of Commissioners approved an emergency action plan at their Jan. 19 meeting after tsunami activity hit the coast, causing damage throughout the harbor.


The board heard a recommendation from staff and passed resolution No. 3441, which declares a state of emergency due to the Hunga Tonga Tsunami and authorizes General Manager Brian Pendleton to take emergency measures to restore district assets.


On Jan. 15, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted off the coast of Tonga in the South Pacific. This eruption triggered a tsunami that devastated several small islands in the region and set off tsunami warnings around the globe. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric society, volcano eruptions cause roughly five percent of tsunamis.


A tsunami advisory was issued by the National Tsunami Warning Center for the U.S. West Coast, and tsunami activity was expected to hit Southern California Beaches at 7:30 a.m.; the surge hit Ventura Harbor at 8 a.m. with waves between 1-2 feet and strong surges that persisted throughout the day.


Surge events in and out of the harbor caused damage to 24 docks, two patrol vessels, marinas, and both private and public structures.


In particular, the surge out of the Ventura Keys flooded the transom of the Harbor Patrol boat B-17, flooding the vessel and ripping it from its moorings, causing it to crash into patrol boat B-19 before capsizing and sinking. Both boats are currently inoperable, and the damage to the patrol dock is under evaluation, according to the staff report.


There was further damage to at least three vessels in Ocean West Marina and throughout the Ventura Keys.


The board passed the resolution with the following six points:


1.) Due to the Hunga Tonga Tsunami, Ventura Port District suffered impacts to several

marine assets in and about the Ventura Harbor, including a reduction in the capacity of

the Harbor Patrol and the board find that an emergency condition exists.

2.) The District determines that the public interest and necessity demand the immediate

expenditure of public money to address the impacts of the tsunami and to maintain the

ability to safeguard the public and district property through the harbor patrol.

3.) The board hereby delegates to Brian D. Pendleton, the district general manager, the

authority to: 1) take any action required to respond to the emergency; 2) submit any

and all emergency permit applications and documents required to support obtaining

an Emergency Coastal Development Permit; 3) to procure the necessary equipment,

services, and supplies for the purpose of making the district’s docks safe and

functional and for re-establishing Harbor Patrol’s vessel redundancy, without giving

notice for bids to let contracts, and 4) Request that the City of San Buenaventura

Council adopts a similar Declaration of Emergency.

4.) The General Manager shall report to the Board of Port Commissioners at its next

regularly scheduled meeting of the board of the actions taken to respond to the


5.) The board will review the emergency action at every regularly scheduled meeting

hereafter until the emergency action is terminated to determine that there is a need to

continue the action by a four-fifths vote.

6.) That, when the board reviews the emergency action at subsequent meetings, if

necessary, the board will terminate the action at the earliest date that

conditions warrant so that the remainder of the emergency action may be completed

by giving notice for bids to let contracts, if necessary.

The harbor remains open, with normal activities resuming. The port will continue to assess the situation and evaluate the emergency order in the coming weeks. For more information, see


Tsunami Resources

City of Ventura

Contact: Dara C. Sanders, Planning Manager, Community Development Department, City of


California Coastal Commission

Contact: and visit to identify the appropriate applications.

For repair work that involves pile replacement or other disturbance of the seafloor

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Contact: Antal Szijj, Team Lead, Regulatory Division, Ventura Field Office:

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board

Contact: Emily Duncan, Ph.D., Senior Environmental Scientist, Regional Programs Section:

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One thought on “Ventura Board of Port Commissioners Pass Emergency Resolution After Tsunami

  • David

    They got caught sleeping at the helm the last tsunami that hit too. You’d think they would have paid a little more attention to this well advertised warning. My bet is that they’ve been asking for new boats for years and are taking advantage of this “disaster.”



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