Marine Link
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Vessel Traffic Service News

Saab's Maritime Solution Protecting Great Barrier Reef

Photo: Saab AB

As one of the wonders of the natural world, many consider the Great Barrier Reef one of the Earth’s most beautiful places. The marine environment in the area is extremely sensitive and with around 4000 commercial vessels passing every year, it is important for the vessel services operators working onshore to keep track of the traffic at all times. That’s where Saab comes in. Comprising nearly 3000 individual reefs and almost 100 islands, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system.

Brief VTS Outage in Prince William Sound Coverage

Wednesday the fire alarm in the Electronics Support Detachment Valdez building was triggered indicating a potential fire in the electronics room. The Valdez Fire Department immediately responded to the alarm, cleared the space of any potential danger, and stated the smoke appeared to be due to an electrical short in one of the equipment racks. Coast Guard VHF-FM radio circuits and Vessel Traffic Service remote sensor systems remained operational following the short; however, the Vessel Traffic Center’s visual tracking display was temporarily disabled. Early morning Thursday technicians successfully restored the display and Vessel Traffic Service Prince William Sound was returned to normal operations.

Puget Sound Increases VTS Participation Requirements

The USCG Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) issued a Notice

Mississippi River Opens Again: Safety Restrictions Apply

Coastguard D8 Logo

The Coast Guard has re-opened the Mississippi River above Head of Passes following clusure occasioned by a sunken tugboat. Survey operations are ongoing in an effort to locate the sunken 48-foot tug boat C-Pec between mile marker eight and Head of Passes. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River will continue to implement vessel traffic management measures to ensure safe navigation. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed two survey passes from mile marker eight to mile marker zero above Head of Passes with no navigation hazards identified.

NTSB Assesses USCG’s Vessel Traffic Service System

A safety study recently released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) details 14 conclusions and 21 recommendations aimed at further reducing the risk of collisions, allisions and groundings involving vessels operating within U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) areas. The study, “An Assessment of the Effectiveness of the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service System” (NTSB/SS-16/01), focused on the performance of the Coast Guard’s VTS system, currently comprised of 12 VTS centers. NTSB said the need for the study was driven by the investigation of six major commercial vessel accidents since the Coast Guard’s…

Juan de Fuca Agreement 30th Anniversary

The Co-Chairs of the Joint Coordinating Group of the Cooperative Vessel Traffic Service announced the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Cooperative Vessel Traffic Services Agreement for the Juan de Fuca region. This agreement between the Government of Canada, Canadian Coast Guard and the Government of the United States, United States Coast Guard established a coordinated Vessel Traffic Services system in the boundary waters and offshore approaches of the Juan de Fuca Strait and was signed on Dec. 19, 1979 by the U.S. Ambassador to Canada and Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs. The members of the Joint Coordinating Group meet twice a year, once in Canada and once in the United States to manage this unique agreement.

Traffic Continues Transits in Calcasieu Channel

In the Calcasieu Ship Channel, six vessels transited safely into the port and three are expected to transit outbound. The temporary Vessel Traffic Service staffed by Coast Guard personnel and industry stakeholders will control these movements. Contingency operational plans have been devised, as well as equipment and temporary dams placed in at risks areas, in the event of heavy rainfall in the area to counter any problems that may arise from such an event. All commercial docks have been cleared by the Coast Guard to receive vessels. “We’ve made outstanding progress the past few days in getting commercial traffic moving in the Intracostal Waterway and the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” said Coast Guard Captain Thomas Sparks, Captain of the Port of Lake Charles.

Barco and Fabricom GTI Team Up

Barco, together with Fabricom GTI, has been selected to install a Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) system, including new radars, for the port of Antwerp. This port project, which was commissioned by the Flemish Agency for Maritime Services and Coast, Shipping Assistance Division and by the port of Antwerp, has a total contract value of 4.2 million euro. Barco's component-based VTS technology will offer Antwerp’s VTS operators an innovative and reliable traffic control system and will significantly enhance the safety at Europe’s second largest port.

Transas VTS Chosen for Offshore Wind Farm Project

The German aids-to-navigation-service, WSD Nord-West/WSA Emden, has decided to install Transas shore-based Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) technology on board the first research platform for planned Offshore Wind Farms. The VTS technology will enable the authorities to survey and assess the navigational traffic density in the German North Sea. The contract has been awarded to Transas Europe GmbH, the Transas Group representative in Western Europe. Financed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment…

Fog Closes Houston Ship Channel Overnight

According to a Bloomberg report, Houston Ship Channel pilots halted boarding inbound and outbound vessels overnight after fog reduced visibility on the approach to the largest U.S. petroleum port, citing the Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service. About 12 ships were waiting to enter the port as of 6 a.m. local time after pilots suspended boardings at 8:30 p.m. yesterday, Levi Campbell, a watch supervisor with the service, said in an interview. Some 14 ships were waiting to leave Houston.

Near Collision, Fishing Vessel & Large Freighter

The Coast Guard is investigating a report of a commercial fishing vessel that crossed in front of the Motor Vessel Bosse, a large commercial freight ship transiting outbound from the Port of Long Beach on Feb. The Marine Exchange of Southern California and Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service, who jointly monitor vessel traffic in San Pedro Bay, were first alerted of the situation by the Motor Vessel Bosse, after the crew was unable to make radio contact with the approaching, unresponsive fishing vessel. Motor Vessel Bosse was within 400 yards of the fishing vessel when it was forced to take evasive action and turned hard to starboard to prevent a collision. The Vessel Traffic Service then actively tracked the fishing vessel into port using radar and other sensors.

New York Anchorage Regulations Proposed

The US Coast Guard proposes to revise its regulations for certain deep draft vessel anchorage areas within the Port of New York and New Jersey (PONYNJ) so as to reduce the maximum duration of stay from 30 days to 96 hours. Requests for extensions beyond 96 hours would be sought from Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) New York. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by December 18. 71 Fed. Reg. 66708 Source: HK Law

Quick Action of Towing Company Averts Threat

On January 3, the Tug Pacific Avenger, while towing an oil barge loaded with diesel fuel, experienced a reduction in steering while approximately 20 miles west of Cape Alava, Washington. As per established procedure, Tofino Traffic, Canada, who, as part of the Cooperative Vessel Traffic Service manages vessel traffic of the northern Washington Coast, notified the U.S. Coast Guard of the incident. Sea Coast Towing, the owner of the tug, reported that the Pacific Avenger had experienced a problem with its autopilot and rudder angle indicator – a device that shows the position of the rudder. Although propulsion and manual steering were not affected, Sea Coast Towing arranged for a tug escort by the Barbara Foss and return to port as a precaution.

US, Canadian Coast Guards Leaders Discuss Partnership

Julie Gascon, Assistant Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Central and Arctic Region and Rear Adm. June Ryan, the commander of the USCG 9th District met with their employees aboard Coast Guard ships and a CCG helicopter in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie Michigan March 21 2016. (Photo credit: USCG)

Rear Adm. June E. Ryan, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District, was welcomed aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley by Assistant Commissioner Julie Gascon and Captain Signe Gotfredsen of the Canadian Coast Guard, Central and Arctic Region Monday. After a relatively mild winter on the Great Lakes escorting ships through ice and preventing ice jams, the Samuel Risley was upbound through the Soo Locks and the St. Marys River to Lake Superior for further icebreaking at the Port of Thunder Bay and buoy-tending duties.

East Coast: Delaware Bay: A Private Vessel Traffic & Information Service

The Pilots' Association for the Bay and River Delaware operates one of the few private vessel traffic and information services (VTIS) in the world. The approach to the Delaware Bay consists of three traffic separation schemes (TSS), and an unofficial offshore anchorage. The bottom's natural contours allow vessels with drafts up to 55 ft. to enter the Bay. The dredged channel leading to the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia can handle ships with drafts up to 40 ft. Overall, the navigable channels continue upriver for over 100 miles. The port ranks seventh in the nation in terms of ship arrivals, and is the number one tanker port on the East Coast. Oil refineries, heavy industry, recreational interests, and wildlife sanctuaries share the coastline.

Abu Dhabi Ports Company Accredited for VTS Training

VTS operator training: Photo credit ADPC

Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), says it has recently been accredited by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to conduct IALA model courses for Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) operators at its dedicated training center, making it the first maritime educational institute in the Gulf Region to offer this NTA approved training. “Being accredited to teach IALA training courses is a further example of our best practices”, says Mohammed Juma Al Shamisi, Acting CEO, ADPC. Six VTS operators…

New Vessel Traffic Equipment at ABP Southampton

Shipping Minister John Hayes CBE MP (front row, third from left) at ABP Southampton with James Cooper, chief executive at Associated British Ports (front row, far left), Alastair Welch, port director at ABP Southampton port director (back row, far right) with staff at ABP Southampton (Photo: ABP)

Associated British Ports marked the latest in a series of multi-million dollar investments in the port of Southampton by inviting the Rt Hon John Hayes CBE MP to open its brand new vessel traffic service (VTS) operating room, (September 21). The Minister of State at the Department of Transport was in attendance as Britain's leading ports company revealed its $5.2m investment in a new office with state-of-the-art equipment at Ocean Gate, Southampton, which will be manned on a 24/7 basis.

Sabine-Neches Canal Channel Limitations

Contractors continue work to remove construction scaffolding that collapsed into the waters adjacent to the Highway 82/Martin Luther King (Gulfgate) bridge in Port Arthur, Texas. Vessel Traffic Service (VYS) Port Arthur will continue to enforce VTS Measures, including prohibiting vessels from meeting or overtaking within 1,000 feet of the bridge and requiring passing vessels to favor the red (east) side of the canal. The Coast Guard will also allow vessels with drafts greater than 30 feet to transit the waterway, on a case-by-case basis, provided those vessels are accompanied by sufficient tugs to safely favor the red side of the channel at a slow speed.

Oil Spill Cleanup Continues on Calcasieu Ship Channel

The Coast Guard opened the Intracoastal Waterway at Calcasieu River to all commercial traffic. The ICW remains closed to recreational traffic from the Calcasieu Lock to mile marker 242. A temporary Vessel Traffic Service, staffed by Coast Guard personnel and industry stakeholders, is coordinating commercial vessel traffic transiting the ICW. Approximately 20 miles of the Calcasieu Ship Channel remain closed due to the spread of oil from a spill at the CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex Tuesday. The Coast Guard has established a safety zone in this area and is enforcing it with patrol boats. The safety zone stretches from light 116, north of the Interstate 210 bridge, to light 56, south of Calcasieu "Big" Lake. Prien Lake and Moss Lake also remain closed.

Closed Portion of Houston Ship Channel Opens

The three mile portion of the 52-mile Houston Ship Channel that was closed due to an oil spill Sept. 25 opened at 12:45 p.m. Sept. 28 to vessel traffic.  The channel, which was closed between Old Manchester Dock Three and City Dock 27, is open to all daylight operations and limited night time barge operations. The Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service is managing all vessel movement. The Captain of the Port, Capt. Marcus Woodring, determined the oil is contained along the shoreline, making it safe to resume traffic flow through the affected area at a slow speed. Responders will continue to work to recover the remaining oil in the area. The exact amount of oil recovered is unknown, but as of 2 p.m. 23,418 gallons of an oil and water mixture has been recovered.

Body of Missing Tug Crewman Located

U.S. Coast Guard photo

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew located the body of the missing tug boat crewman from the capsized Ricky J Leboeuf near the location of the tug on the San Jacinto river Tuesday at 9:47 a.m. The Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew located the man's body and directed rescue boats to his location, which was a few hundred feet downstream. They recovered the unresponsive man's body and transported him to EMS. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Houston restricted waterway traffic on the San Jacinto at 8:42 a.m. Traffic is prohibited between the red #2 light and the I-10 bridge.

MCA and Norcontrol Collaborate

The U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Norcontrol IT have entered into an agreement to collaborate in the training of coastal Vessel Traffic Service operators around the world. “We’re excited about this agreement,” says Steve Guest, the General Manager of Norcontrol IT UK. “We are always looking for new and innovative ways of providing choice and a value added service to our customers and this agreement provides a foundation in the area of operator training,” comments Guest. believe in providing customers with a choice and have always offered this in terms of the technical solution provided.

Grounded Freighter, Hillsborough Bay, Fla.

The Coast Guard is investigating the grounding of the 575-ft motor vessel Pollux, which ran aground two miles east of Gadsden Point in Hillsborough Bay, Fla., on Jan. 2. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a call at 11:15 p.m., from the Cooperative Vessel Traffic Service that the Pollux had run aground and could not move under its own power. The Pollux, a Malta flagged freight vessel carrying a load of fertilizer, was inbound to Tampa Bay from Galveston, Texas. Members from Sector St. Petersburg are investigating the incident and are working with the vessel's crew and representatives to safely remove the vessel. Vessel traffic has not been affected, but all vessel operators are urged to use caution when transiting the area.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Oct 2017 - The Marine Design Annual

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