A strong earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale occurred near Mariana Islands, the northernmost islands of Micronesia, early this morning.

The Meteorologyl Department said the 5.37am earthquake occurred at 21.1 degrees North, 145.1 degrees East and about 3,370km northeast of Sandakan, Sabah.

The department in a statement issued here today said that there was a "very small possibility of a local tsunami near the earthquake centre".

However, there was no tsunami threat to Malaysia, it said.