A major investment in a key UK transportation hub will improve safety and security
Ship tracking technology is being enhanced with new radar and software at the Port of Dover, UK, Europe’s busiest ferry port.
This upgrade comes as the Port of Dover redevelops the Western Dock into a multicargo terminal to increase ship traffic using the port.
Port of Dover expects more dry freight carriers, cruise ships and ferry traffic in the next decade due to this investment, which is why it is renewing its ship traffic, safety and security systems.
The port operator has contracted Marico Marine to upgrade safety systems, who turned to Cambridge Pixel to supply radar trackers and display technology for a new vessel traffic service (VTS) system in Dover.
This is a low-cost, open, software-based radar tracker that will integrate with the VTS.
It needed to work seamlessly with a range of proprietary radars and have plot merging capabilities to combine multiple echoes from large ship reflections into single plots.
The tracker is designed to operate with many different radar types including those from:
Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister told Riviera Maritime Media during a visit to the harbour’s cruise terminals that the technology is part of a revival of the port.
“Our Western Dock revival is our biggest investment,” he said. “It means we will be able to handle more freight and we will free up more capacity at the Eastern Docks for more ferry traffic.”
The revival project involves building a 300-m berth for container ships, reefers and general cargo ships. “It will also expand our cruise ship capacity,” said Mr Bannister. “We already have three dedicated cruise berths and so this will become the fourth.”
Port of Dover provides berths for 24/7 ferry services by P&O and DFDS to Calais and Dunkirk, both in France.
“We have created an efficient transportation service with our operations geared towards the pace of intensity of 24/7 ferry operations,” said Mr Bannister.
The port handled 1,760 commercial ships, 36,331 ferries and around 9,500 leisure craft movements last year.
The radar installation is designed to detect commercial and smaller private vessels at a significant distance from the port as well as monitoring vessel movements within the harbour.
Cambridge Pixel provided its SPx server for radar video tracking and distribution and its SPx library for displaying scan converted radar video. SPx server interfaces to each of the radars using proprietary network connections and accepts input from an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver, so that primary and AIS tracks can be viewed together. SPx server also provides high quality radar video pre-processing to optimise tracking performance.
Cambridge Pixel chief executive David Johnson said radar trackers and display software improves safety in Dover. “Radar with our trackers and display software will link to CCTV cameras to give port control officers greater ability to track, target, record and intercept vessels navigating dangerously,” he said.