The Port of Prince Rupert has commissioned a new shore-based radar regime designed to safely accommodate the port’s growth in vessel traffic and international trade.
Shore-based radar builds on the existing vessel traffic service that provides active vessel monitoring and navigational information to vessels at the Port of Prince Rupert. Transmitting data from three tower sites across the port’s coastal shores, the system provides coverage ranging from the northeast of Haida Gwaii to the Alaskan border.
“The addition of radar improves the capability of the port to proactively monitor and manage vessel movement in the harbor,” said Don Krusel, President & CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “This significant investment in safe navigation benefits many of our port stakeholders involved in the flow of cargoes through our port, and further safeguards the environment and mariners of British Columbia’s north coast.”
The $5 million project was jointly funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Prince Rupert Port Authority, with ongoing operation and maintenance of the radar system provided by the Canadian Coast Guard (Fisheries and Oceans Canada). The system improves the capability of the organizations responsible for vessel monitoring and management to prevent vessel incidents in the harbor, a monitoring and response regime that works around the clock.
“The Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) centers are key to marine situational awareness in Canada. They monitor marine traffic for distress and safety calls, support emergency responses, broadcast maritime safety information and screen vessels entering Canadian waters, among other essential services. The MCTS center in Prince Rupert plays a vital role in the safe movement of vessels on the West Coast, and will greatly benefit from the new radar system,” said Roger Girouard, Assistant Commissioner, Western Region, Canadian Coast Guard.
The Port of Prince Rupert stewards 35,000 acres of tidal water between its inner and outer harbor, and its six cargo and passenger terminals see roughly 20 million metric tons of bulk, container and project cargo shipped through the port annually.
“The addition of shore-based radar to the Port of Prince Rupert further enhances 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,” said Kevin Obermeyer, President, Pacific Pilotage Authority. “This is great example of the Port of Prince Rupert identifying a marine safety need and acting upon it for the benefit of all the port users.”
Chief Superintendent Sean Bourrie, head of the RCMP's Federal Policing in BC, said, “This tool will help us gather and analyze intelligence at the port and from the surrounding maritime environment in support of our law enforcement initiatives.”