Wednesday, October 19, 2022

NOAA system makes the fastest-growing port In Texas safer

Ritu S

From Geospatial world

Located in the industrial hub of Brazoria County, Texas, Port Freeport is one of the most accessible ports in Texas by land and sea.
It is a deep sea port with the shortest deep-water channel on the Texas Coast and an abundance of land available for future development.

On October 4 it was announced that now this port has an added advantage offering enhanced safety feature for the mariners sailing in and around it.
The port has been fitted with an efficient NOAA marine navigation system which has increased its safety, commercial opportunities and real-time observations.

Freeport is now fitted with NOAA marine navigation system

This Texan seaport is equipped with NOAA’s Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System or PORTS which ensures safe and efficient marine navigation for vessels entering and exiting its port waters.
Port Freeport is the 38th system in this network of marine sensors.
The integrated series of precision marine navigation sensors track oceanographic and meteorological conditions as they unfold around the port.

“Precision navigation is critical to our nation’s data-driven blue economy and helps our environment,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad at the announcement of the NOAA system in Freeport.
“The real-time information tracked by NOAA allows ships to move safely within U.S.
waterways to make operations more efficient and lower fuel consumption, which also lowers carbon emissions” said Spinrad.

Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS)
Source: NOAA

NOAA’s PORTS program provides accurate and critical information to all vessel operators and helps them to take efficient decisions regarding their movement within the port area and thereby greatly enhancing their productivity and reducing accident risks.
This system is an effective decision-support tool that improves coastal resource management.

Some relevant marine data collected and disseminated by PORTS are observations of water levels, currents, salinity, bridge air gap and meteorological parameters like winds, atmospheric pressure, and air and water temperatures, all of which are essential for safe navigation by mariners.
Freeport TX with the GeoGarage platform (NOAA nautical raster chart)

Port safety enhances the economy

The US marine transportation system is the backbone for the movement of goods, services, and people throughout the country and today the network of waterways and seaports is challenged by ever-increasing demand.

Estimates for Port Freeport have shown that more than 30 million tons of cargo moved through the port in 2019, which supported more than 279,000 jobs nationwide, for a total economic impact of USD 149 billion.
The economic impact of port activities is indeed far-reaching.

However, increased marine traffic and the movement of bigger vessels bring in the challenge of the increased potential for accidents.
Estimates have shown well over 600 commercial vessels annually are involved in accidents on the nation’s waterways and major seaports.

Maritime accidents can result in catastrophic impacts resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, oil spill contaminations, harmful effects on the coastal environment, port facility closures, and the potential for loss of life.
The trend towards bigger vessels and greater port traffic will result in increased potential for accidents.

In this context, the presence of NOAA’s PORTS system is a much-needed feature to ensure such marine vessel accidents may be avoided and further protect the economy linked to marine services from incurring any huge loss.

Real-time observations from PORTS®, when combined with up-to-date nautical charts and precise positioning, can greatly increase the safety and efficiency of maritime commerce.
In fact, reports have confirmed that there has been a nearly 60 per cent reduction in groundings at some seaports currently served by PORTS.
All PORTS observations and predictions are quality controlled by NOAA 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“This new system, and the others like them around the country, reduce ship accidents by more than 50%, and allow for larger ships to get in and out of seaports and reduce traffic delays,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service at the announcement of the Freeport connection with the PORTS.
“PORTS can also provide real-time data as conditions rapidly change, giving our coastal communities time to prepare and respond.”

Geospatial system provides essential marine information

This geospatial system provides much needed real-time location data collected through the newly installed current meters in the surrounding waterways where those conditions can rapidly change over small distances.
These sensors are now helping the Texas seaport gain much valuable information.

Freeport’s new system also integrates real-time water level and meteorological information from the NOAA Freeport Harbor National Water Level Observation Network station.
This station provides access to details about wind speed and wind directional data which will support the mariners to plan safer ship movements during adverse weather conditions.

Safety is paramount to the maritime community and the recent announcement of the location data enrichment for the Texas port ushers in safer and more efficient port services for Freeport and in turn invites better economic opportunities for the surrounding areas.

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