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DOT RELEASES PORT NEEDS STUDY

 DOT RELEASES PORT NEEDS STUDY
 WASHINGTON, March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A study assessing the costs


and benefits of installing maritime traffic management systems in 23 selected maritime zones throughout the United States was sent to Congress today by the Department of Transportation. The management systems are designed to prevent vessel collisions and improve waterborne transportation efficiency.
 The Port Needs Study will assist the Coast Guard in developing a strategy for Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) in the United States. The 23 selected areas encompass 82 deep-draft ports, which load or unload more than 80 percent of the total U.S. cargo vessel tonnage.
 A VTS is a maritime safety system which gathers, processes and disseminates information between the vessel traffic service center and vessels operating in the system. This is accomplished by a combination of technologies including radar, closed circuit television, meteorological sensors, voice communications equipment and computer integration. The ultimate goal of the VTS is to provide for the safe and efficient passage of vessels in congested waterways.
 Analysis of the study revealed substantial benefit from the operation of a VTS in seven study zones. The zones, listed alphabetically, are: Boston; Corpus Christi, Texas; Houston/Galveston; Los Angeles/Long Beach; Mobile, Ala.; New Orleans; and Port Arthur, Texas. The Coast Guard currently operates a VTS in Houston/Galveston. Funding for new VTSs in New Orleans, Port Arthur and Los Angeles/Long Beach has been requested for FY 1993.
 The Coast Guard plans to conduct more detailed waterway assessments of specific needs in the ports of Boston, Corpus Christi, and Mobile.
 Currently, eight VTSs are operational: Berwick Bay, Morgan City, La.; Houston/Galveston; New York; Prince William Sound; Puget Sound; Ohio River in Louisville, Ky.; San Francisco; and St. Marys River in Sault Sainte Marie, Mich. The VTS at Ohio River is operated only during high waters -- about 50 days a year, and St. Marys River is operated seasonally.
 The study was required by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and was conducted by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (VNTSC) in Cambridge, Mass. VNTSC is an operating unit of the Department of Transportation.
 NOTE: The Port Needs Study will be available for sale from the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Va. 22161.
 -0- 3/6/92
 /CONTACT: CWO Rick Meidt of the U.S. Coast Guard, 202-267-1587/ CO: U.S. Department of Transportation; U.S. Coast Guard ST: IN: MAR SU:


SB-MH -- DC007 -- 5820 03/06/92 11:03 EST
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Date:Mar 6, 1992
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