Transas VTS Prevents Damage in Iceland

Monday, September 16, 2002
A new installation of Transas VTS system took place in the middle of August at Heimaey, the main populated island in Vestmanneyjar archipelago southwest of the Icelandic mainland. The history of this project goes back several years, when the Icelandic Telecommunication Company were interested in acquiring a system intended to supervise/protect national submarine communications. A huge submarine cable integrated with the transatlantic submarine communication line between Europe and Northern America connects Iceland with the rest of the Globe. This cable has been damaged several times because of incorrect fishing and anchoring operations, consequently causing very expensive repair works often running into millions of US dollars. The Icelandic segment of the cable is not very long (about 35 nautical miles), but is at high risk of damage because it passes through the main fishing area around Vestmanneyjar. Thus supervision of the submarine cable area to prevent its damage by fishing trails is needed. The long search for the solution resulted in a Transas VTS system being acquired. Radiomidun HF, Transas' agent in Iceland, played a leading role in negotiating with the customer. The installed system structure is a standard Navi-Harbour VTS, including one VTS radar processor connected to a BridgeMaster-E radar and one remote Operator station with all system controls and data display. However, the specific application of VTS functionality as a signaling/guarding system for sea areas is quite new for Transas. This installation proves the potential of VTS products for Waterside surveillance and security purposes. The Vestmanneyjar VTS system is set up for fully automated performance. Special adjustments allow an operator on watch at the Coastal Radio Station to be notified when a vessel, being automatically tracked by radar processing, is going to cross the cable area. The first alarm is generated 10 minutes before the vessel is due to cross the cable at its current speed. The alarm repeats when the vessel crosses the cable at a speed of less than 5 knots (usual speed for trailing fishing boats). As a result of the generated alarm Coastal Radio Station operator gets in touch with the vessel with advice to change course or raise the trail. The BridgeMaster-E radar antenna is installed next to a Lighthouse in the southern part of Heimaey Island at 128m height above sea level and provides reliable detection of medium size vessels at up to 30 nautical miles distance, thus covering the entire cable area where the sea depth makes cable damage possible. Such specific Transas VTS system application is available because of sophisticated and flexible system configuration related to different navigational conditions/events/predictions. Currently VTS products are proposed in different configurations for National Coast Guard and Waterside Surveillance systems in several areas.
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