Protecting the Reef

Protecting the reef


The Great Barrier Reef is set to become even safer for shipping thanks to a state-of-the-art
sea traffic control system designed by an innovative Queensland company.

The system will be one of the world’s most sophisticated and will help coordinate traffic at
five Queensland ports and along 3000kms of the world’s most sensitive sea lanes.

The contract to design and install the new Vessel Traffic Services – Decision Support Tool
(VTS-DST) has been awarded to Brisbane-based Australian Maritime Systems Group
(AMSG) by Maritime Safety Queensland following a global competitive tendering process.
It will replace the REEFVTS shipping control system, which has successfully protected the
Great Barrier Reef since 2004, and the five port control VTS systems at Brisbane, Cairns,
Townsville, Gladstone and Hay Point.

“There are few places on Earth as beautiful and precious as the Great Barrier Reef – or as
challenging for shipping,” said AMSG Managing Director John Sugarman.

“Our system will give VTS operators the clearest and most up-to-date picture they have ever
seen of shipping passing through the Great Barrier Reef.

“And it will also help predict and warn of potential problems – enabling port authorities and
captains to plan even safer journeys.”

Around 4000 commercial vessels a year pass through the waters controlled by REEFVTS.
At the core of the new VTS-DST will be the V3000 traffic management and information
system built by AMSG’s long-time technology partner SAAB and operated by 70 of the
world’s major ports, including Rotterdam, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The system will receive information from radar, CCTV, meteorological sensors and
Automatic Identification System signals emitted from ships via satellite or radio

It will significantly improve the speed, quality and breadth of information passing between
ships and on-shore control centres, improving not only marine safety but also the efficiency
of Queensland’s economically vital sea lanes.

It will also improve severe weather and cyclone-resilience by allowing centres to take over
each other’s area of operations in the event of a natural disaster, ensuring uninterrupted
vessel traffic management.

The $36m installation and maintenance contract was signed between Maritime Safety
Queensland and AMSG in Brisbane earlier this month.
A team of 15 highly-skilled AMSG engineers will deliver the new VTS-DST.

“We’re delighted the Queensland Government has chosen to back a Queensland company
for this important contract,” Mr Sugarman said.

“Australian Maritime Systems Group has some of the best and brightest in the business and
we’re ready to deliver one of the most sophisticated vessel traffic services ever built.”

In April this year AMSG was awarded the contract to design and install a new VTS system at
Western Australia’s Port Hedland – the world’s largest bulk export port – on behalf of Pilbara
Ports Authority (PPA).

And in June the company was awarded a contract by Chevron Australia to design and install
a new VTS system to manage shipping to and from the Gorgon Project on Barrow Island,
60km off the coast of Western Australia.

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Media Contact: Stuart Sherwin, Sequel PR – 0403 090 914 or 07 3251 8144