NEW SAFETY AND SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM TO BE INSTALLED IN NEW YORK HARBOR
NEW YORK, NY, 25-FEB-03 -- The U.S. Coast Guard has authorized Lockheed Martin to begin installation of three Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) systems to meet maritime safety and surveillance requirements in major U.S. ports, including New York Harbor. Under the Ports and Waterways Safety System (PAWSS) systems integration contract, originally awarded by the Coast Guard in 1998, the company will install the VTS systems in the New York harbor area and in the Ports of Houston/Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas. The new systems, with a combined value of approximately $24 million will be in place during 2004. Initially designed to support the Coast Guard's maritime safety and environmental protection mission, VTS also assists the service with its homeland security responsibilities by identifying, tracking and monitoring all ships transiting the port area. The PAWSS system will enable the Coast Guard to pay closer attention to vessels requiring more detailed evaluation.
The Port of New York-New Jersey is the Eastern seaboard's busiest port, handling nearly 66 million tons of cargo each year. The New York harbor area, along with its tributaries, is a major thoroughfare for thousands of ships, tugboats and barge traffic, as well as commercial water taxis, ferries and pleasure boats.
The U.S. Coast Guard's mission in the greater New York harbor area is to maintain 'maritime domain awareness,' explained Alan Bills, Lockheed Martin's program manager for PAWSS. This means the Coast Guard must know where every ship is at all times.
The Lockheed Martin Vessel Traffic Service system will consist of a vessel traffic center (VTC), located on Staten Island, as well as 13 radars, situated along the East and Hudson rivers up to the George Washington Bridge, on waterways connecting to Ports Elizabeth and Newark, N.J., and at the approaches to New York harbor from Sandy Hook, N.J., to the Verrazano Bridge. The system will display tracks from the internationally approved Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder technology so the Coast Guard can easily identify ships coming into the port.
The Coast Guard will be able to quickly recognize those ships that have AIS transponders and as a result, go through the port-of-entry process more quickly, said Bills. This will give the Coast Guard more time to identify those ships that do not have AIS transponders, thereby providing a better risk assessment of vessels entering the area.
PAWSS provides extensive surveillance capabilities to the Coast Guard, said Michael Sollosi, program manager, Chief Office of Vessel Traffic Management for the U.S. Coast Guard. The systems will help protect the environment by preventing maritime accidents and ships will be able to move more efficiently and safely through one of the nation's busiest ports.
Lockheed Martin in Syracuse, N.Y. already has supplied four U.S. ports with vessel traffic service systems under the PAWSS contract, including Valdez, Alaska; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; New Orleans, La. and Berwick Bay, La.