With the number of ships calling on the Port of Prince Rupert expected to grow substantially in the years ahead, the Prince Rupert Port Authority announced a $5 million partnership that will create a shore-based radar system to cover the waters of the North Coast.
The project, which includes a $2 million investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada, will see three radar towers installed to provide radar coverage 50 nautical miles west to the northern tip of Haida Gwaii and north beyond the Alaska border. The 6.5 metre TERMA Scanter 5102 towers will be installed on an existing tower on Mount Hays, on Ridley Island and on Dundas Island, located 30 kilometres northwest of Prince Rupert.
“This project will result in a new and foundational piece of our marine safety and security network at the Port of Prince Rupert, providing an additional layer to the maritime picture we use to keep our harbour safe and ensure a diverse range of cargoes continue to flow securely through our trade gateway,” said Don Krusel, President and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert.
“Our local partnerships enable improvements like this to make a safe port even safer, and matching investments from senior government organizations allow us to carry forward our long term development vision in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner.”
The radar system will provide more specific information to those monitoring traffic about distance and direction and is a technology currently used on hundred of vessels that already call on Prince Rupert, giving ships’ masters a better image of what is happening in the waters around them. As well, the information creates a real-time visual network for those monitoring traffic in the region. That additional information was welcomed by both the RCMP and the Pacific Pilotage Authority.
“This investment in shore-based radar coverage of the British Columbia northern coastline around Prince Rupert is an important contribution to Canada’s public safety and the strategic priorities of the RCMP … this tool will help us gather and analyse intelligence at the port and from the surrounding maritime environment in support of our law enforcement initiatives,” said Chief Superintendent Sean Bourrie, the head of the RCMP’s Federal Policing in B.C.
“The addition of shore-based radar to the Port of Prince Rupert will further enhance the safety of the area by ensuring that the smaller vessels not utilizing the AIS system or participating in the MCTS system will now be tracked and reported upon, as will vessels at anchor,” said Kevin Obermeyer, president of the Pacific Pilotage Authority.
Work is already underway to construct or modify towers and prepare the utilities needed to run the sites and connect them to network services. Arrival and installation of the radar equipment is expected in the first quarter of 2016 after which training and commissioning of the equipment will take place.