NOAA Sensor Systems Improve Shipping in Louisiana
NOAA announced today that it will be installing new sensor systems in Port of Morgan City and Port Fourchon that will provide real-time weather and water level information for mariners.
PORTS is an integrated system of oceanographic and meteorological sensors that provide mariners with accurate and reliable real-time information about environmental conditions in seaports. According to the agency, the new Physical Oceanographic Real Time Systems (PORTS) will allow for increased navigational safety and efficiency.
“Real-time knowledge of the currents, water levels, winds and density of the water can increase the amount of cargo moved through a port and harbor and enable mariners to safely use available channel depths,” said Rich Edwing, NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) director. “Even one additional foot of draft can substantially increase the profit of a shipment.”
The Port of Morgan City system was dedicated today and is the 24th seaport to join the national PORTS network. This system provides information on water levels, currents, wind speed and direction, air and water temperatures, barometric pressure, and salinity.
The Port Fourchon dedication will be on May 13, making it the 25th seaport to use PORTS. Port Fourchon serves as a commercial and recreational fishing center, foreign cargo shipping terminal, and a desirable area for recreation and tourism.
“Because our seaport services so many oil tankers, an accident could have a detrimental impact on the environment in our area. PORTS is critical for protecting not only the goods and services that come in and out of our seaport, but also for protecting the environment from damage caused by an oil spill,” said Port Fourchon executive director Chett Chiasson.
In 2014, marine cargo activity generated approximately $4.6 trillion of total economic activity, or about 26 percent of the nation’s $17.4 trillion gross domestic product. Economic benefit studies from four PORTS locations around the U.S. have shown a 50 percent reduction in groundings and $50 million in economic efficiency benefits every year.
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