Marine Department announces upgraded safety system

Marine Department of Hong Kong has recently announced an adoption on newly upgraded Vessel Services (VTS) system for enhancement of marine safety.

This came after the marine authority was criticized by the city’s supervisory body for its lax practice in taking follow-up action after investigations into maritime accidents, which provoked public fears regarding to safety risks.

A marine department assistant director was found guilty in June for misconducting in public office over the deadly ferry accident near Lamma Island of 2012, which took 39 lives.

Director of Marine Maisie Cheng Mei-sze said “the third-generation system, operated since March this year, distributes navigational information and advice to vessels through a high-frequency radio network to facilitate safe arrivals and departures.”

This newly upgraded system has been equipped with 13 radars. This will allow them to track up to 10,000 marine targets automatically, which is double the number of the previous generation systems.

Cheng said “The system will work round the clock throughout the year and will meet the operational needs at least till 2030.”

With the help of the upgraded safety system, they will have enhance capability of detacting vessels even in severe weather conditions. Thus marine traffic can be monitored and regulated more efficiently.

A total of 17 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system cameras were mounted at some key locations such as areas of heavy traffic to deliver real-time photographic vessel images.

Meanwhile, the system also accounts trip history of visiting vessels and makes invoices for accumulating revenues with the data. These data could also be useful as the source fortraffic control strategies, port developments, and traffic safety enhancements.

Cheng said “The Lamma Island ferry accident in 2012 was a painful lesson for the department. Thus the department, since 2013, has implemented a series of measures to enhance marine safety, including enhancing survey of local vessels, strengthening lookout duties by crew on vessels and improving the training and examination of coxswains”

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