a quick update on the use of the DGPS and the Tsunamis system as we apply
it to our Pilotage tasks here in Gladstone and Port Alma.
As you know Paul Hines and I traveled to Brisbane to see the units in
use with the Brisbane Pilots and we both came away very impressed especially
as the day we were there was overcast and the seas rough. This made picking
up navigation buoys difficult, especially for one not familiar with Brisbane.
Here the navigation system we were observing came into its own and positioned
the ship accurately on the electronic chart and took away the difficulty
in determining the position by visual and radar observation.
Since then two trial units were set up for us by Brisbane Pilots and
these were used in Gladstone to determine the usefulness in assisting
Pilots go about their everyday Pilotage tasks.
Shortly after the trial there was acceptance of the units for their great
assistance in the safe Pilotage of ships especially during inclement weather.
The accuracy with which they position the ship shape or 'aerial dot' is
sufficient, once one has gained confidence in their reliability to permit
operations to continue in weather conditions which otherwise may have
prevented a ship starting its movement, or continue a movement underway.
I have used the unit for a special project and that was the gaining of
accurate tidal stream data acquisition passed nine of the twelve berths
in Gladstone and current data in four channels here. I plotted the courses
I wished the Pilot vessel (as survey craft) to transverse on the Tsunamis
charts with numbered waypoints to make the task easier for the crew. The
boat then steamed up and down theses courses for six hours at a time whilst
Queensland Transport electronic hardware and hired current recording hardware
recorded the current at each half metre of depth. We achieved an outstanding
result, which was then fed onto the Port Simulator at the Launceston College.
Since then the units have been used mainly for Pilotage, although I did
recently use the Playback feature to demonstrate the unit's capability
at the Advanced Marine Pilots Course in Sydney in early November
After returning From Sydney I have been Piloting whilst several severe
thunderstorms have come across the Harbour. On two occasions the rain
was so heavy that the ship's radar could not be tuned to pick up any mark
which would assist in the ship's navigation. With the DGPS unit operating
we were able to safely proceed up the narrow Targinnie channel with a
fully loaded small tanker in conditions which would have otherwise sent
the ship to anchorage. Using an appropriate scale I was able to maintain
a cross channel accuracy of the ship's position such that the ship was
never in danger at any time.
This above situation has been repeated on many occasions by most of the
Gladstone Pilots since we have had the units.
The units have been of particular benefit when using unmarked bypass
channels or when deviating from the recognised transits. On numerous occasions
I have been able to use the units to undertake passing operations in marginal
weather conditions which otherwise, would have caused considerable delay
to the ship being Piloted.
Kim, these are good Pilotage assistance tools and I look forward to your
continued support of the hardware and software we are using.
Captain John Ellyett
Senior Marine Pilot
Gladstone Port Authority