Lerwick Port Authority have inaugurated a new Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) which utilises the latest technology to improve the handling of ship movements at the busy Shetland port.

Transas, a world-leader in providing harmonised integrated solutions to the maritime industry, has installed the system across four sites covering the port area – port control in the main building and three remote stations, at Rova Head north of Lerwick and Maryfield and Kirkabister, on the island of Bressay, monitoring the northern approaches, inner harbour and southern approaches, respectively. Fibre and microwave links supply data back to port control.

The completion is being marked today (Friday 19 August, 2016), with invitations extended to port users to view the new system.

The modernising VMS project, including the Transas contract, telecommunications and civil works, cost £450,000.

The Port Authority’s Deputy Harbourmaster, Captain Alexander Simpson, said: “The VMS is already a great asset for Port Control in handling shipping movements and providing navigational assistance. It combines data from multiple sensors in very user-friendly vector chart operator display units, extends Port Control’s VHF radio range, displays weather information and linked cameras deliver CCTV coverage – all enhancing the efficiency and safety of operations.

“The investment in the VMS is just one of several projects expanding the port’s infrastructure at a time when we are welcoming larger vessels – for example, the biggest cruise ship yet at Lerwick arrived this week.”

The new VMS is based on the high-end Navi-Harbour software solution from Transas. Hardware equipment scope consists of Class A AIS Transponders, Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine Vision Master radars, a Jotron VHF Communication System, Gill Meteorological sensors, general IT hardware platform and an APC Power Backup System.

“The Transas Ship Traffic Control solutions installed at Lerwick Harbour will provide tools for coordinated approach to maritime traffic control, monitoring and decision support which is vital in the era of rapid digital transformation,” comments Frank Coles, Transas CEO.

As part of a wider project to refurbish the Authority’s office in Albert Building, the port control room in Albert Building has been completely renovated, including a new server room. Transas closely collaborated with the Authority to design a new layout for the service within the building and contracted local support from H Williamson & Sons for installation and ongoing maintenance.

As part of its comprehensive customer support programme, Transas also provided the Authority with an Operator Training Course and Maintenance Service Plan.

Conversion of the ground floor of Albert Building to a new reception and offices is underway, for completion by year-end as part of the phased refurbishment programme.

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