Zetron upgrades communications control system for Guernsey ports authority

New DCS-5020 digital console system provides control over radio, telephony and remote systems from one place, as well as remote harbour lights and fog horns

Zetron upgrades communications control system for Guernsey ports authority

Zetron’s new DCS-5020 digital console system has successfully gone through its first peak season of use by harbour and coastguard staff on the island of Guernsey in the UK.

The new system was installed earlier this year and is an upgrade of Zetron’s existing communications control system, which has provided reliable service for the last 12 years. The harbor and coastguard staff are responsible for the safety in ports and around the island’s 48 km (30 mile) coastline.

 ‘After 12 years with the earlier Zetron system, we had no doubts about the vendor whose solution we wanted,’ said harbour master Captain Peter Gill (pictured). ‘The original system helped us cope well with our workload, but technology moves on and we were aware that a current generation system would enable us to work smarter and even more efficiently. The acid test of this busy summer season on Guernsey has shown that we got it right.’

Guernsey lies in the English Channel, 113 km (70 miles) from England and 48km (30 miles) from France. The 62 square km (24 square mile) island has a population of some 62,000, and is a popular tourist destination. Guernsey harbour and coastguard staff manage marine traffic in the approaches to Guernsey, as well as the operation of the harbours of St. Peter Port and St. Sampson.

The ports see up to 2,000 pleasure craft movements a day, plus commercial shipping that annually moves some 500,000 passengers and many thousands of tons of freight and bulk cargo. The same staff are also responsible for controlling remote harbour closing lights, and fog horns around the coastline that warn shipping of hazards, as well as coordinating search and rescue by sea and air in the event of a marine emergency.

Zetron’s partner in Guernsey, Radio & Electronic Services (RES), carried out the phased swap-over during the winter of 2010/11, integrating the new Zetron system with existing ICOM marine VHF and UHF radio, the public phone network, private phone circuits and an existing Zetron telemetry system used to control and monitor remote installations.

Two consoles were installed in the St. Peter Port harbour office and a third in the pier head control room, linked by fibre optics. RES used Zetron’s programmable user interface to customise screen displays according to the individual preferences of the operators.

‘Guernsey is a challenging marine environment and has been the scene of a number of shipping tragedies over the years,’ said Capt. Gill. ‘In addition to the thousands of regular to-and-fro shipping movements, we lie adjacent to the busiest shipping lane in the world and we are a major destination for cruise liners. The new Zetron system has enabled us to implement many of the lessons we have learned about how we can operate most effectively.

‘RES has consolidated more information than ever before onto our touch screens, so staff have finger-tip control over radio, telephony and remote systems from one place. Remote harbour lights and fog horns are also controllable in the same way. If they need to move away from the consoles to another area, operators can turn on remote monitoring from the touch screens so that live radio and telephone audio is relayed to them over loudspeakers. The new system has enhanced our ability to provide an attentive and efficient 24/7 service,’ Gill concluded.

Zetron’s DCS-5020 digital console enables small to medium sized operations control rooms to combine telephony with both digital and analogue radio control. It supports combinations of up to 30 resources, including up to 16 screen-based operator consoles. Distributed processing gives the DCS-5020 flexibility, scalability and robustness, delivering the high degree of resilience required for mission-critical 24/7 applications.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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