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Port of Corpus Christi Receives Federal Funds for Vessel Traffic Information System; Enhanced Security for Corpus Christi.

News Editors/Business Editors/City Desks/Assignment Desks

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 3, 2003

The Port of Corpus Christi Authority received a congressional appropriation of $3.6 million to establish a Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS). The monies will be administered through a contract with the U.S. Coast Guard in Washington, D.C.

"I'm very pleased that the Port of Corpus Christi is now able to put to use the $3.6 million I won in the House of Representatives for a Vessel Tracking System to better secure the traffic in our port," said Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. "It is our ports that are the most vulnerable points of entry in the United States, and I have worked hard since September 11, and before, to win funding for improvements to the security of the South Texas area in Congress. The $3.6 million for the Vessel Tracking System was not easy to accomplish. It was after it became obvious that both the tax scheme and the war made appropriating money more difficult than ever. But lobbying the members of the House and Senate and explaining our need eventually won them over," added Ortiz.

"I am pleased Congress approved new resources to better protect the Port of Corpus Christi," said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "This port serves as a critical gateway for commerce and trade, and these funds will help enhance security."

The continued growth of commercial vessel traffic and the recent military deployments have increased the Port's security and safety posture and the need for vital infrastructure improvements. "The Port of Corpus Christi has been at the leading edge in tracking developments in vessel traffic system technology," said Ruben Bonilla, Port Commission Chairman. "The Port appreciates the support of Congressman Solomon Ortiz and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison who helped secure the funds. Their continued support and commitment to the Corpus Christi area is evident in the monies received today."

An array of sensors will provide surveillance from the offshore anchorage, through the Corpus Christi Ship Channel and into the Inner Harbor, as well as the Channel's intersection with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The sensors will include radar, night vision video cameras, enhanced VHF-FM radio coverage and the monitoring of transponder-equipped vessels through the Automated Identification System (AIS). The sensor suite will enhance security and navigation safety by providing monitoring of all vessel traffic within the Port.

"The Port Authority's purchase of the VTIS equipment will provide valuable information on vessels coming to Corpus Christi," said Captain of the Port, Bill Wagner. "This information will enhance the Coast Guard's Maritime Domain Awareness throughout the area, greatly increasing the security of the Port."

The Port of Corpus Christi signed the contract on September 29, 2003. Design and construction of the system will begin immediately and completion is expected within one year.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 3, 2003
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