An earthquake has struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea

Helen Cahill
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Kerema, Papua New Guinea (Source: Getty)

An earthquake has struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) issued a statement saying an earthquake of magnitude 7.9 occurred in the region of New Ireland. Tsunami waves were observed, and hazardous tsunamis were forecast for some coastal regions.

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PTWC said tsunami waves were possible in Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Nauru, Kosrae and Vanuatu.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake struck 60km east of Taron, New Ireland island.

The USGS added: "Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking...some casualties and damage are possible."

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New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence issued a warning for the country's coast, but later retracted the warning.

The body said no evacuations were necessary, but that people should stay out of the water and away from beaches.

The PTWC estimated possible arrival times of tsunami waves in different locations:

Location Region Coordinates ETA
Rabaul Papua New Guinea

4.2S 152.3E

1123 12/17

Kieta Papua New Guinea

6.1S 155.6E

1125 12/17

Falamae Solomon Islands

7.4S 155.6E

1132 12/17

Woodlark Island Papua New Guinea

9.0S 152.9E

1133 12/17

Kavieng Papua New Guinea

2.5S 150.7E

1146 12/17

Ulamona Papua New Guinea

5.0S 151.3E

1156 12/17

Lae Papua New Guinea

6.8S 147.0E

1203 12/17

Port Moresby Papua New Guinea

9.3S 146.9E

1339 12/17

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