• Friday, December 14, 2018

Shore-based radar system enhances marine safety as Prince Rupert vessel traffic grows

By BCShippingNews 14 September 2016
Five-million-dollar project to build on existing vessel traffic service...

The Port of Prince Rupert announced the commissioning of a new shore-based radar regime designed to safely accommodate the port’s growth in vessel traffic and international trade. 

Shore-based radar builds on the existing vessel traffic service that provides active vessel monitoring and navigational information to vessels at the Port of Prince Rupert. Transmitting data from three tower sites across the port’s coastal shores, the system provides coverage ranging from the northeast of Haida Gwaii to the Alaskan border.

Photo above: Expansion at Fairview is just one of the projects that will bring more ships to Prince Rupert. Photo by Lonnie Wishart.

The $5 million project was jointly funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Prince Rupert Port Authority, with ongoing operation and maintenance of the radar system provided by the Canadian Coast Guard (Fisheries and Oceans Canada). The system improves the capability of the organizations responsible for vessel monitoring and management to prevent vessel incidents in the harbour, a monitoring and response regime that works around the clock.


  • The Port of Prince Rupert stewards 35,000 acres of tidal water between its inner and outer harbour.
  • Its six cargo and passenger terminals see roughly 20 million tonnes of bulk, container and project cargo shipped through the Port annually.
  • The Port of Prince Rupert directly employs 3,220 staff and generates $390 million in gross domestic product.


The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada: "The Government of Canada is proud to take an active role in improving the safety of marine traffic at the Port of Prince Rupert. As a key part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway, this port is an economic driver in northwestern British Columbia that creates jobs and strengthens opportunities for the surrounding community."

Roger Girouard, Assistant Commissioner, Western Region, Canadian Coast Guard: "The Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) centres are key to marine situational awareness in Canada. They monitor marine traffic for distress and safety calls, support emergency responses, broadcast maritime safety information and screen vessels entering Canadian waters, among other essential services. The MCTS centre in Prince Rupert plays a vital role in the safe movement of vessels on the West Coast, and will greatly benefit from the new radar system."

Don Krusel, President & CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority: "The addition of radar improves the capability of the port to proactively monitor and manage vessel movement in the harbour. This significant investment in safe navigation benefits many of our port stakeholders involved in the flow of cargoes through our port, and further safeguards the environment and mariners of British Columbia’s north coast."

Chief Superintendent Sean Bourrie, head of the RCMP's Federal Policing in BC: "Shore-based radar coverage of the British Columbia northern coastline around Prince Rupert is an important contribution to Canada's public safety and the strategic priorities of the RCMP. This tool will help us gather and analyse intelligence at the port and from the surrounding maritime environment in support of our law enforcement initiatives."

Kevin Obermeyer, President, Pacific Pilotage Authority: "The addition of shore-based radar to the Port of Prince Rupert further enhances the safety of the area by ensuring that the smaller vessels not utilizing the AIS system or participating in the MCTS system will now be tracked and reported upon. This is great example of the Port of Prince Rupert identifying a marine safety need and acting upon it for the benefit of all the port users. It is initiatives such as this that ensures the Port and its partners can accommodate the growth of this Canadian trade gateway."