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    Charting the Course: Ohio River test bed explores future of navigation

    Charting the Course: Ohio River test bed explores future of navigation

    Courtesy Photo | The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are pioneering the future of...... read more read more



    Story by Walter Ham 

    U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters   

    LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – In Kentucky’s largest city, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are pioneering the future of navigation.

    Louisville is hosting the Ohio River Enhanced Marine Safety Information (e-MSI) Test Bed.

    The test bed location was selected because of its strategic position on the Ohio River, a major inland waterway that crosses five states before merging into the Mississippi River. The Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are among the inland marine transportation corridors collectively known as the Western Rivers.

    The prosperity of the American Heartland pumps through these vital economic arteries. Billions of barrels of oil, tons of cargo and bushels of crops travel on America’s rivers every year on the way to local gas stations, shopping malls and grocery stores.

    Many critical American industries rely on these waterways and approximately 15 percent of the total U.S. freight travels on the Western Rivers. The rivers also reduce air pollution and traffic on America’s roads and railways. With a 60,000 barrel capacity, two tow barges can carry as much cargo as 80 train cars or 300 trucks.

    The Coast Guard Office of Navigation Systems and Coast Guard Research and Development Center are working with the Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center at the test area that covers most of the Ohio River and part of the Mississippi River.

    From the test bed, the Automatic Identification System (AIS) is being used to transmit messages to vessels from the Ohio River locks around Louisville, including messages on weather, bridge clearance, hazardous cargos, safety and security zones, lock status and Aids to Navigation (ATON).

    The test bed is helping the services to determine the equipment and infrastructure needed to modernize U.S. waterways and make them safer, more efficient and more resilient. The Coast Guard is also using the test bed to explore how to best integrate AIS into its existing MSI and ATON systems.

    Maintaining Aids to Navigation is the Coast Guard’s oldest mission, tracing its roots to the ninth law passed by Congress that created the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment in 1789.

    As the multi-mission, maritime service responsible for the safety, security and stewardship of American waterways, the Coast Guard maintains the U.S. Aids to Navigation system, which includes more than 48,000 buoys, beacons and electronic aids.

    The U.S. Aids to Navigation System safely guides millions of mariners and trillions of trade into U.S. ports. The U.S. ATON system supports military, commercial and recreational mariners across the 25,000 miles of coastal, intracoastal and inland waterways of the U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS).

    The Coast Guard, Corps of Engineers (USACE) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have a shared responsibility for U.S. navigable waterways. NOAA produces nautical charts and provides tidal and weather information while the USACE conducts hydrographic surveys, maintains locks and dredges waterways.

    On busy American waterways, Coast Guard Aids to Navigation save lives, protect property and enable commerce – and much of that commerce travels down America’s rivers past cities like Louisville.

    “The test site will not only help improve service delivery on our inland waterways but also across the entire Marine Transportation System,” said Coast Guard Capt. Scott J. Smith, chief of the Office of Navigation Systems.

    Together with other AIS initiatives like the “Digital Lightship” capability that enables the Coast Guard to provide safety information in austere locations and to quickly reconstitute ports following disasters, the Western Rivers Test Bed is part of the interagency Future of Navigation initiative.

    A native of Cleveland, Smith said the initiative will help to bring American waterways into the 21st Century.

    “The e-MSI test site brings together two of the principal agencies that are charting a course for a more effective and efficient maritime system,” said Smith.



    Date Taken: 01.04.2017
    Date Posted: 01.04.2017 14:34
    Story ID: 219300
    Location: LOUISVILLE, KY, US 

    Web Views: 270
    Downloads: 2