Port Otago VTS Installation

Electronic specialist Marintec Limited, of Timaru, have recently completed the installation of a MaxSea TimeZero Coastal Monitoring Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) solution at Port Otago Limited.

This system replaces equipment that served the port well since being installed around 15 years ago. The replacement solution offers superior technological advancements in VTS hardware & software, with more focus on automated tracking capability.

The equipment consists of 2 remotely installed Axis PTZ cameras, one overlooking Port Chalmers and the other at Taiaroa Head. The Taiaroa head monitoring site also includes a new Furuno DRS25A 25kW digital dual-range radar antenna and a Vesper VAB (Virtual AIS Beacon).

The Vesper VAB provides the port with capability to transmit specific Virtual AtON’s (Aids to Navigation) to vessels equipped with AIS. These AtON’s are then displayed as marks on the vessels navigation systems, providing expanded navigational situational awareness.

The TimeZero Coastal Monitoring server is located at Harbour Control at Port Chalmers, configured with dual 24” LCD display monitors. The remote radar, cameras, and AIS are is linked to Harbour Control via a dedicated wireless link – a range of some 9 kilometres. The system includes capability to remotely activate the Bar light in rough weather and also activate a camera lens washer.

The TimeZero program consists of various page options. The primary “Monitoring” page (window) provides the operator with a chart view, with ability to overlay AIS, ARPA and radar targets. Other page options include Camera, Radar, Dual Range Radar, Analyze etc.

While the TimeZero program is advanced in capability, it is entirely scale-able allowing for customised configuration to suit the user so features that are not required are easily hidden. There are also many customisable shortcuts, thereby enabling easier functionality.

The ability to automate many of the functions is key, thereby providing the VTS operator with increased efficiency. Specific strategic zones (boundaries) can be configured, and then specific monitoring rules can be configured and applied to those specific zones. Targets that enter the zones can be automatically tracked via camera, AIS and radar for example.

All IMO vessels are equipped with AIS transponders. The VTS system monitors these signals, and the operator can visualise their movements at any point in time.

For smaller vessels that are not equipped with AIS transponders, the systems radar is equipped with Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (ARPA) capability, which allows the operator to track specific radar targets (e.g. small craft). ARPA tracking is also automatically activated in key sensitive traffic areas.

The location of the cameras are strategic, providing the user with eyes on traffic in sensitive areas such as the turning basin at Port Chalmers and the Harrington Bend and through to the Mole End at Aramoana. The VTS operator can also manually control cameras very quickly by selecting a location on the chart plotter and clicking “move camera here”.

All data is recorded for playback analysis. This includes AIS, radar, camera, VHF and phone streams – providing an excellent resource for training and incident investigation.

The system as it has been delivered meets the ports current requirements, but is scalable should future demand necessitate the additional radar antennas, or cameras, or monitoring sites.

About Port Otago

Port Otago Limited is located on the Otago Harbour, on the lower east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Otago Harbour is world-renowned for its physical beauty and is regarded as the eco-tourism capital of New Zealand because of its abundant sea and bird life.

Port Otago operates two wharf systems - Port Chalmers and Dunedin - within Otago Harbour.

Port Otago is the primary export port for the South Island region of New Zealand and believes strong competition offers real benefits to shipping lines and cargo owners. Port Otago ensures this strong competition by delivering superior customer service in all aspects of its activities through a can-do attitude and hard work. Our people are committed to delivering the highest standards of port services at all times.


About Marintec

Based out of Timaru, Marintec are electronic system specialists in the marine and industrial sectors. They have a team of technicians to provide intelligent system diagnosis and servicing. Marintec are whole distributors of some key product lines, and also approved resellers of many other market leading brands. Marintec pride themselves on being customer intimate, focusing on holistic deliverables and forging strong relationships with our clients. www.marintec.co.nz


About MaxSea

SigNet S.A (trading as MaxSea International) are a European developer and distributor of software for maritime markets. The company was founded in 1985 along with the sister company MapMedia, specialised in electronic charting.

From that time MaxSea has pioneered a long list of innovations; the first seamless chart display, the first weather forecast file received onboard, invention of the personal bathy generator and 3D bathymetric display, and more. Today, as the world leader in marine navigation software, their software is available in 16 languages, equipping 95,000 vessels around the world.

SigNet group is composed of 4 companies located in France, USA and Spain (MaxSea International SAS, MapMedia SAS, Nobeltec Inc and MaxSea Naval S.L). Their 2007 technical and financial partnership with Japanese electronics manufacturer Furuno, the World Leader in Marine Electronics, has allowed SigNet to expand their product range further into the maritime safety industry.

MaxSea strive to be the leader in the invention and development of the industry's most advanced information technologies in marine navigation.

Some 50 plus Time Zero Coastal Monitoring systems have now been installed globally since its inception in 2012.


MaxSea is distributed in New Zealand by premier marine electronics specialist Electronic Navigation Group.