Innovative Radio System at Port of Liverpool

From: Icom UK Ltd
Published: Wed May 20 2009

The new radio system allows VTS at the port to supply a range of services to ships, from the provision of simple radio communications to extensive management of traffic within the port or waterway.

The Port of Liverpool is one of the busiest ports in the UK. It is a gateway to trade from North America and more than 100 other non-EU destinations. In addition the Port of Liverpool sees nearly three-quarters of a million people per year travelling on Irish Sea ferry services and cruise ships.

The new radio system, installed in 2008, is equipped with seven radio PC consoles with large touch screen monitors and ten Icom repeaters to provide the necessary radio coverage. The system spreads its web across five locations via microwave links and fibre optics. A dual network path was installed to cater for the necessary bandwidth required by the new radio system and CCTV cameras.

The system covers the locks in Gladstone and Langton (which are controlled remotely from the central base), the Liverpool Grain Silo at the port, Lynas on the North Welsh coast and the Manchester Ship Canal. Installation of the system was spread over the 5 sites across a 7-day period running side by side with the older system. Switch over was in a quiet period and went straightforwardly.

Paul Clay, VTS Manager at the Port of Liverpool said, 'The system allows us to speak with incoming vessels over a wide area and record all voice communication. The system has to be incredibly fine-tuned because of all the differing standards of radio equipment onboard some international vessels.

The new system is centrally controlled by VTS from the Marine operations control room. Five radio PC consoles with large touch screen monitors enable the operators to monitor traffic. VTS can also monitor traffic visually from the numerous CCTV cameras situated around the port and locks.

So what have been the benefits of the system? Paul Clay, VTS Manager at the Port of Liverpool said, ' our new radio system is reliable and, above all, very user friendly. The system allows us to record all voice traffic and provides us with the flexibility to relocate operations to other sites on the system.

He added, 'Our mandate is very simple. Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) contribute to safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation and protection of the marine environment. The port has ambitious plans for the future, with a brand new Cruise Terminal already in operation, there will be more cruise liners coming into the Port, which will mean extra work for the new radio system.'

Paul Benson said, 'This was a challenge to implement due to the requirements of the port. We enjoyed working closely with Paul Clay in order to ascertain his requirements. The system was swapped over from the old system without any major problems. Training was given to all operators over several shifts to ensure a smooth changeover.'
Company: Icom UK Ltd
Contact Name: Laura Beavis
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 01227 741741

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