Papua New Guinea Earthquake
An alert has been issued after a major quake hit off the coast of Papua New Guinea in the early hours of Friday.Reuters

An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of New Britain Island in Papua New Guinea at 03:33:59 GMT on Friday, the US Geological Survey said.

The epicentre, with a depth of 65.0 km, was initially determined to be at 6.1 degrees south latitude and 148.3 degrees east longitude, reports Xinhua.

While not ruling out a tsunami, the alert said there was a very low likelihood of disaster as the quake was a shallow one with a depth of 10 kilometres, according to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS).

The undersea quake struck in a narrow strait between New Britain's south coast and the north coast of Papua New Guinea's main island.

Residents in nearby towns said there were no immediate reports of damage.