Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan on Friday inaugurated a state-of-the-art Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) at the Chennai port.

He said so far the port was monitoring the traffic movement of the ships through Very High Frequency. The new system would further increase the efficiency in surveillance of the vessel movement.

It has Auto Identification System, radar and communication links to manage vessel traffic, monitor the environment and support port and harbour resources. The new system would optimise the safety of vessel traffic, allocation of berths, prevent accidental stranding, collision of vessels and trenching of sub-sea pipelines.

Apart from that all channels around the Chennai port, pipelines, guard zones and anchoring zones are graphically displayed as superimposed in the radar picture.

It would be helpful in providing information to vessels about weather conditions and continuously record all seasons, which could be replayed.

Protecting the marine environment, monitoring international ship and port facility security compliance for the water front areas of the port are some of the other benefits the new system, Mr. Vasan said. The VTMS, besides monitoring and tracking the vessels, is also equipped with special features for detecting oil spills, under water surveillance and had provision to incorporate web server. The information or the data from the VTMS could be shared with other stakeholders such as Indian Navy and the Coast Guard. The VTMS could cover nearly 48 nautical miles in and around the port, he said.

The VTMS has a third generation C-Scope Radar extractor and tracker, which gives sharp pictures even during bad weather.

It has a built-in radar-based oil spill detection system and a camera which could zoom in and follow any unidentified/rogue rafts in the harbour limits, he said. The new facility has been installed at a cost of Rs.9.82 crore and the project was executed by Kongsberg Norcontrol IT AS, Norway. It would be an added advantage to the port’s Signal Station.

Sethusamudram project

Talking about the Sethusamudram project, Mr. Vasan said it was not only important for the development of the State but also for the overall development of the country. Following a Supreme Court order, the Centre had constituted a panel to go into the alternative route 4A.

The expert panel had submitted its report to the Supreme Court. He refused to deliberate further on the issue, stating that it was sub-judice.

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