Jebel Ali Port to avoid accidents with new high-tech vessel tracking system

A new high tech vessel tracking system is being introduced by DP World in and around Jebel Ali Port’s offshore area to reduce the risk of marine accidents and curb unidentified boats crossing the lanes of ships entering and leaving the port.

Jebel Ali, one of the busiest ports in the world, sees about 2,200 moves by ships per month that sometimes causes congestion and confusion among tankers, ships, supply vessels and pleasure boats from the residential islands. Fishing boats that enter the shipping lanes add to the traffic congestion.

The new vessel tracking system, claimed to be the first of its sort in the world, can track any number of vessels that enter the coastal waters of the UAE. Ships, tankers and other vessels use about 25km or 13 nautical miles offshore from Jebel Ali Port.

While road traffic is well monitored in Dubai using hundreds of radars and police patrols, there is congestion offshore.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Captain Nasser Ali Sabt, Director of Marine Operations and Harbour Master (Jebel Ali) of DP World, said the number of vessel movements in the port is less only in the month of February because there are only 28 days in that month.

“The port is witnessing on an average 2,200 moves per month. The new vessel tracking system can reduce congestion, improve coastal security and prevent pleasure and fishing boats from crossing the main shipping routes. The new system can identify any vessel or boat in the sea and warn it to keep away. This will help avoid accidents involving ships or fishing boats. Our old system could not tackle the problem. The new tracking system will give real time images of any vessel spotted in the coastal waters of the UAE and other parts of the Arabian Gulf,” said Captain Sabt.

“Even if there are 200,000 vessels cluttering the waters, we can identify each one of them, their owners, destination and other details with a click of the mouse. We are working with the police, customs and coast guard to use the system for crime prevention and national security,” he added.

The system was developed by the Holland Institute of Traffic Technology.

“If we spot an unidentified boat or vessel, we can keep monitoring its movements even at night with the help of night vision,” he said.

Captain Sabt said the new vessel tracking system will also help avoid accidents like the tanker collision that took place in the port area a few years ago or the shooting at a fishing boat in which one person died.

Some of the resorts on Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Jumeira offer fishing trips and adventure boat rides on rented boats. Many residents of Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Jumeira have their own private boats. Many boat owners or tourists visiting the islands go yachting and their paths sometimes cross shipping lanes, which can be fatal.

“If we spot any vessel in the shipping lanes or in any other undesirable location, we can help it to move away. In case they don’t heed our radio communication, we can advise the Coast Guard boats to track them down,”  said Caption Sabt.

“It is like a real visual tracking of objects in the sea. The system uses satellite imagery and closed circuit television cameras which will track yachts, pleasure boats, fishing boats and supply vessels that crowd the port area.

“This application will be available on smart phones of vessel owners, cargo company officials or people interested in tracking their vessels. We are getting good response form the shipping industry, not only from the UAE but from outside too,” he added.

“There are a lot of pleasure activities and fishing in and around the Jebel Ali port area. Sometimes these boats have to cross the busy shipping lanes to go from one island to another. Fortunately, there has been no accident so far,” Captain Sabt said.

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