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Marine Environment & Fuels

Ship tracking technology to protect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

A$36m is to be invested by the Palaszczuk Government for ship tracking technology to protect the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland’s ports from shipping activities. 

A new Vessel Traffic Services – Decision Support Tool (VTS-DST) will replace the old REEVTS shipping control system that has been used since 2004. The aim of the upgrade is to improve the safety of international shipping and reduce impact of ships on the environment.

This VTS-DST will enable Queensland to identify, track, and monitor ships in real-time transiting through the Reef and ports around the state.

It will provide detailed information to ship captains on sea conditions, ship traffic and potential hazards as well as identify and intervene where developing situations dictate. The system will receive information from radar, CCTV, meteorological sensors and Automatic Identification System signals from ships via satellite or radio communications.

Acting Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Mick de Brenni said the upgrade supported the government’s commitment under Reef 2050 that shipping within the Great Barrier Reef is safe, risks are minimised, and incidents are reduced to as close to zero as possible.

“For the first six months of this year around 9500 ship movements were undertaken in Queensland ports and another 5,400 reef voyages were undertaken all without serious incident,” de Brenni said.

The VTS-DST was awarded to Brisbane-based Australian Maritime Systems Group (AMSG) and SAAB Technologies following a tendering process.

Read more on the Queensland’s Government website.

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