News: VTS System Aims to Increase Port Security

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

By implementing Lockheed Martin's Vessel Traffic Service system, the Coast Guard will be able to survey vessels by identifying, tracking and monitoring all ships transiting port areas, including the Port of New York and New Jersey which handles nearly 66 million tons of cargo each year. The VTS system aims to support the Coast Guard's maritime safety and environmental protection mission, as well as servicing with its Homeland Security responsibilities.

On February 25, the U.S. Coast Guard authorized Lockheed Martin to begin installation of three VTS systems Under the Ports and Waterways Safety System (PAWSS) contract. Originally awarded by the Coast Guard in 1998, Lockheed Martin will install the VTS systems in New York Harbor, and in the Ports of Houston/Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas. The new systems, with a combined value of approximately $24 million, will be in place during 2004. The PAWSS system will enable the Coast Guard to pay closer attention to vessels requiring more detailed evaluation. "The Coast Guard will be able to quickly recognize those ships that have AIS transponders and as a result, go through the port-of-entry process more quickly," said Alan Bills, Lockheed Martins' program manager for PAWSS. "This will give the Coast Guard more time to identify those ships that do not have AIS transponders, thereby providing a better risk assessment of vessels entering the area." The Lockheed Martin VTS system will consist of a vessel traffic center (VTC), located on Staten Island, as well as 13 radars, which will be placed along waterways throughout the Port of New York and New Jersey. The system will display tracks from the internationally approved Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder technology so the Coast Guard can easily identify ships coming into the port. Lockheed Martin in Syracuse, N.Y., already has supplied four ports with VTS systems under the PAWSS contract, including Valdez, Alaska; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; New Orleans, La. and Berwick, La.

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