The head of Chile's oceanographic service has been sacked following the earthquake and tsunami that killed about 800 people last week.

The Navy said Commander Mariano Rojas had failed to provide a clear warning prior to the killer tsunami which followed the 8.8-quake, according to AFP.

The service, which forms part of the Chilean navy, was widely criticised for its failure to issue a nationwide warning.

Port authorities in certain coastal towns issued their own tsunami warnings, but a national alert never came, the BBC reported.

Military officials admitted to transmitting "very unclear information" to President Michelle Bachelet on whether to lift or maintain a tsunami alert as giant waves began crashing into the Pacific coast.

The navy has also launched an inquiry into how the disaster was handled, according to a government statement.

Commander Rojas will be replaced by Commander Patricio Carrasco at the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (Shoa).