TimeZero VTS tracks a target at a range of ~3nm via AIS & Camera by Dave James

Marintec Install VTS solution at Port Otago 

Electronic specialist Marintec Limited, of Timaru, have recently completed the installation of a MaxSea TimeZero Coastal Monitoring Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) solution at Port Otago Limited. 

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This system replaces equipment that served the port well since being installed around 15 years ago. The replacement TZ Coastal Monitoring solution offers superior technological advancements in VTS hardware & software, with more focus on automated tracking capability.   

The equipment consists of 2 remotely installed Axis Q6115-E PTZ cameras, one overlooking Port Chalmers and the other at Taiaroa Head. The Taiaroa head monitoring site also includes a new Furuno DRS25A 25kW digital dual-range radar antenna and a Vesper VAB (Virtual AIS Beacon).

The Vesper VAB provides the port with capability to transmit specific Virtual AtON’s (Aids to Navigation) to vessels equipped with AIS. These AtON’s are then displayed as marks on the vessels navigation systems, providing expanded navigational situational awareness.

The TimeZero Coastal Monitoring server is located at Harbour Control at Port Chalmers, configured with dual 24” LCD display monitors. The remote radar, cameras, and AIS are is linked to Harbour Control via a dedicated wireless link – a range of some 9 kilometres. The system includes capability to remotely activate the Bar light in rough weather and also activate a camera lens washer.

The TimeZero program consists of various page options. The primary “Monitoring” page (window) provides the operator with a chart view, with ability to overlay AIS, ARPA and radar targets. Other page options include Camera, Radar, Dual Range Radar, Analyze etc.

While the TimeZero program is advanced in capability, it is entirely scale-able allowing for customised configuration to suit the user so features that are not required are easily hidden. There are also many customisable shortcuts, thereby enabling easier functionality.

The ability to automate many of the functions is key, thereby providing the VTS operator with increased efficiency. Specific strategic zones (boundaries) can be configured, and then specific monitoring rules can be configured and applied to those specific zones. Targets that enter the zones can be automatically tracked via camera, AIS and radar for example.

All IMO vessels are equipped with AIS transponders. The VTS system monitors these signals, and the operator can visualise their movements at any point in time.

For smaller vessels that are not equipped with AIS transponders, the systems radar is equipped with Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (ARPA) capability, which allows the operator to track specific radar targets (e.g. small craft). ARPA tracking is also automatically activated in key sensitive traffic areas.

The location of the cameras are strategic, providing the user with eyes on traffic in sensitive areas such as the turning basin at Port Chalmers and the Harrington Bend and through to the Mole End at Aramoana. The VTS operator can also manually control cameras very quickly by selecting a location on the chart plotter and clicking “move camera here”.

All data is recorded for playback analysis. This includes AIS, radar, camera, VHF and phone streams – providing an excellent resource for training and incident investigation.

The system as it has been delivered meets the ports current requirements, but is scalable should future demand necessitate the additional radar antennas, or cameras, or monitoring sites.

About Port Otago

Port Otago Limited is located on the Otago Harbour, on the lower east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Port Otago operates two wharf systems - Port Chalmers and Dunedin - within Otago Harbour.