AAPA Seaports Advisory

Navigation Safety: Prince Rupert

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New Navigation Systems Enhance Safe Shipping at Port of Prince Rupert

The Prince Rupert Port Authority on March 29 announced completion of critical milestones in the implementation of marine safety enhancement projects.

In collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), as well as input from the Pacific Pilotage Authority (PPA) and BC Coast Pilots (BCCP), the port has successfully established another aid to navigation with advanced technology capabilities at the mouth of Prince Rupert’s Fairview Channel. 

Prince Rupert’s shore-based radar project also progressed toward completion with the arrival last week of several tons of technical equipment.

During the past five years, the port authority has invested millions of dollars in capital to assess risk, streamline practices and procedures, and create a marine safety regime.

The Kaien Island Sector Light is the second such enhancement to navigational safety funded by the port through a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Coast Guard in 2014, and provides mariners with a visual aid to identify the center of the safe deep water navigation channel for ships arriving and departing the inner harbour. Like the radar system, the C$500,000 navigation aid will be maintained by the Coast Guard and contribute to improved navigation safety of the Port of Prince Rupert’s nearly 500 annual commercial vessel calls.

Equipment for the shore-based radar system was customized for Prince Rupert before being shipped from France under the supervision of Port Authority staff. The twenty crates and pallets arrived intact at the Coast Guard’s Seal Cove base last month.

The delivery included all radar components that will be used to establish three elevated radar sites (Prince Rupert Grain, Mount Hays, and Dundas Island) that will provide shore based radar coverage extending to the northeast of Haida Gwaii as far north as the Alaskan border. 

The C$5 million project was funded jointly by the port authority, RCMP and Western Economic Diversification Canada, with ongoing operation and maintenance provided by CCG, and is expected to be operational in July.

"These projects represent significant investments by the Port of Prince Rupert to ensure industry leading marine safety and security practices are in place to accommodate the significant growth in Canadian trade being contemplated within our jurisdiction," said Captain Gary Paulson, the port authority’s harbor master and vice president of operations. "The strong partnerships we’ve established with agencies like Canadian Coast Guard and Pacific Pilotage Authority allow us to proactively plan for increased vessel traffic as a result of our current expansion and proposed developments."

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