NOAA Announces New Ports Program for New Haven

Friday, June 04, 2004
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the Port of New Haven, Conn., is the 12th major United States shipping harbor to install a new Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System. PORTS(r), which are developed and operated by NOAA, are designed to support safe, cost-efficient marine transportation by providing accurate real-time oceanographic and meteorological data. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. New Haven handles vessels carrying nearly 11 million tons of cargo annually. To enable movement of the greatest amount of cargo without the vessel running aground, the vessel managers must know the precise depth of the water. Yet, in port areas, water levels and currents frequently differ from predictions as a result of changes in winds and water run off. PORTS(r) provides the very accurate real time information needed to make marine transportation both safe and efficient. "The NOAA PORTS(r) Program is of tremendous importance to the marine commerce industry of the United States and is a very successful product resulting from NOAA science," says Richard Spinrad, Ph.D., assistant administrator of NOAA's National Ocean Service. "More than 95 percent of United States overseas trade by volume, and 37 percent by value, comes and goes by ship, including nine million barrels of imported oil daily." Administered by NOAA National Ocean Service's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), PORTS(r) is a cooperative effort with the Block Island Pilots Association. Funding for the equipment, installation and operations of the PORTS(r) system is provided by the Block Island Pilots Association, while NOAA provides the management, quality control and data dissemination. The New Haven PORTS(r) will provide real time information on water levels and meteorological conditions; will be updated every six minutes and thoroughly quality controlled to ensure accuracy. While designed to be of service to the marine transportation community, this data is freely accessible by Internet or phone. Users of NOAA PORTS(r) information include port authorities, vessel pilots, shipping companies, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, recreational boaters, fishermen, coastal managers, environmental organizations, academia and surfers. New Haven joins 11 PORTS(r) systems supporting seaports around the nation using the highly successful NOAA program. Other areas using the system are: Anchorage, Alaska; Chesapeake Bay; Galveston and Houston, Texas; Los Angeles-Long-Beach, Calif.; Narragansett Bay, R.I.; New York-New Jersey Harbor; San Francisco Bay, Calif.; The Soo Locks, Mich., Tampa Bay, Fla., and Tacoma, Wash. NOAA's National Ocean Service, which includes the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation's coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

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