Safety and security at the Port of Prince Rupert went up another notch with the introduction of a $5 million shore-based radar system.
As the port grows so does vessel activity in the North Coast and with this latest investment in shore-based radar the port’s president and CEO, Don Krusel, is promising a whole new layer of safety.
There are three pieces of tower infrastructure on Mount Hays, on the top of Prince Rupert Grain, and another that is still being completed 44km from the city on Dundas Island.
“The combination of data that comes in from those three towers and facilities will give the people at Coast Guard unparalleled site lines to know everything that is happening on the water,” Krusel said at the media conference on Thursday afternoon.
The Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) and the RCMP will be able to see what is happening in the Prince Rupert harbour all the way to the tip of Haida Gwaii and north to the Alaska, U.S. border.
“For the last few years we have invested a lot of time and energy and money to improving the safety and security of this port,” Krusel said who stated that it’s the safest port on the West Coast of Canada and soon to be the second largest port in the country.
“We’ve added additional aids to navigation, we’ve got tide monitors, current monitors, wind gauges out there all to ensure that marine traffic in and out of this port is protected,” he added.
The $5 million for the shore-based radar system was a joint investment between the Port of Prince Rupert and Western Economic Diversification Canada. The Canadian Coast Guard will support the operation and maintenance of the radar system.
Marine communications and traffic services officer, Kate Timmins, presented the new system to media, stakeholders and other interested parties at the conference.
Timmins explained that the radar has an AIS (automatic identification system) interlay that provides the ships name, their course and speed. The new system can pick up moving targets within three radar sweeps.
“With the AIS we can actually take the vessels outline so it can show us the actual size and shape of the vessel so it can distinguish between a larger ship or a smaller ship. We have the ability to put in all the information if the vessel doesn’t have AIS,” she said.
Being able to monitor vessels that don’t have the AIS system will add more in-depth information on what is happening in the harbour. The Port of Prince Rupert stewards 35,000 acres of tidal water between its inner and outer harbour.
Jesse Lawson, superintendent maritime and civic infrastructure, Canadian Coast Guard , Laura Yerex, office in charge of the Prince Rupert MCTS Centre, Sean Wheeler, operations coordinator, E Division – Marine Security Operations Centre, RCMP, Don Krusel, president and CEO, Port of Prince Rupert, Sgt. Mike Fox, NCO in charge of the Western Marine Security Operations Centre at the announcement of the new shore-based radar system for the North Coast. SHANNON LOUGH/THE NORTHERN VIEW