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Strengthening port security

The project, carried out by Prodar, was the winner in the 2019 Excellence Awards delivered at Expo Seguridad México.

by Security Sales

Puerto Lázaro Cárdenas has 40 years of existence and is located on the Mexican Pacific coast, more precisely in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. It is currently one of the most important ports in that country and Latin America, because it has become a great logistics alternative for commercial exchange between the Asian continent and ours.

Due to its importance, the safety of this space is fundamental for its perfect functioning, which is why they decided to renew the equipment of the System and the Maritime Traffic Control Center of the Port, which had an approximate age of 14 years, making their technology obsolete before the development of new technologies in the world, such as Solid State Radar antennas.

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Previous situation
Given the above, the need to make a renewal of the equipment became clear and was used to also update the Maritime Traffic and Port Management Software that had the same port. All this to comply with IALA regulations.

The IALA "International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities" is an international organization that, with respect to Maritime Traffic Services (VTS), issues recommendations that are subsequently taken by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) to become guidelines established under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention) of the countries signatories of the UN.

The Scope contemplated a turnkey project that went from the removal of existing obsolete equipment to the commissioning of the new one. Always maintaining the operation of the Port and not losing a minute of control and security in it. It can be divided into the following stages:

1.- Removal of obsolete equipment installed.
2.- Adaptation of the remote communications sites and the same Site and Control Tower.
3.- The tower of the Bahia site was modified to install the radar.
4.- Fiber optics were installed to remote radar sites.
5.- Two radars were installed one in each remote site "Torre de Bahía" and "Azotea de Silos"
6.- Removal of the previous furniture
7.- Installation of new furniture brand WINSTED (USA), according to the design of the new System.
8.- Supply, Installation, Integration and Commissioning of the Subsystems involved in the Maritime Traffic System
9.- Calibration, Set-up, Operation and Final Tests
10.- Start-up and follow-up in the days following it.

Installed equipment


As for the Radars (the total part of the hardware), it was installer equipment brand Terma model Scanter 2202 of 80 watts of Solid State with an Antenna of 18 feet.  In America, at this time, only the Airport of the city of Toronto (in addition, now, of the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas) has these types of equipment in operation.

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With this type of radar, the IALA Guideline No. 1111 on Preparation of Operational and Technical Performance Requirements for VTS Systems is fully complied with. Edition 1 May 2015, and is the only Mexican port to achieve compliance with the detection of targets listed in these recommendations as Standard level port.

In terms of communications, all GMDSS Marine Radiocommunication Equipment was replaced as well as its antennas and wiring. For this update, four equipment in the marine VHF band and 1 MF/HF radio of the Cobham brand of the Sailor Series (England) were chosen, which were approved before the IFT (Federal Institute of Telecommunications) for operation in Mexican territory. Finally, these radios were integrated into a "Digital Touchscreen" console of the IHM brand (Ingeniørfirmaet H. Mortensen, from Denmark, specialist in Mission Critical communications), for specialized operation for Maritime Traffic Centers, which allows interlace radio calls as if it were a telephone switch. In addition to digital recording of all communications for a period of 60 days.

Likewise, a Weather Station of the Finnish brand Vaisala was installed, which operates digitally and integrates the data of the weather status in real time to the servers of the system.

An AIS Base Station of the SAAB model R40MKIII was also acquired. They are of Swedish origin and currently this station is detecting boats up to 200 nautical miles away, which is equivalent to a real range of almost 370 kms.

In order to integrate all the information generated by the previous sensors, the iVision VTMIS (Vessel Traffic and Management and Information System) management solution of the English brand Denbridge Marine was installed.

As a reference of the brand, the iVision solution in the VTMIS version, was selected by the International Coalition that make up the Netherlands, Australia, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Canada and the USA to be the Target Extraction and Coastal Surveillance system in military exercises against possible attacks with transcontinental ballistic missiles, which took place at the end of 2015 in the forum "Maritime Theatre Missile Defense" (MTMF)ii.

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This solution has the capacity to, modularly and under licensing, be configured as for a Maritime Traffic Control Center, up to a National solution that integrates Port Security, Maritime Surveillance, Meteorological Stations, Port Operations, and even the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), in a single holistic concept, which optimizes planning, response, situation analysis and incident management, designed to unify the comprehensive management of Maritime Traffic Centers.

In addition, the solution is designed to support the multiple users, organizations and authorities participating in the maritime domain, creating an environment where current and future technologies, people, resources and action procedures merge into a single platform for management, control and intelligence of maritime activities.

The entire system is designed redundantly to ensure continuous operation 365 days a year (24-7) and also has a recording functionality of all sensors and devices for 60 days, so it has the ability to recreate any event or incident that could occur, or to be used in training tasks to new operators.

It is worth mentioning that during the installation process of these new equipment, the CCTM of Lázaro Cárdenas never left operations and the migration and installation of the new technologies was planned in a synchronized manner so as not to leave the Port without its own services.

As a curious fact, during the installation of the radar at the Silos Site, it was necessary to use protection against bees, because there was a honeycomb that was so large that not even the firefighters could remove it. However, the company assured that it could do the work without affecting them and thus contribute to the ecology of the place.

"For Prodar it is a great pride to present this project that not only integrates teams from more than seven countries and three continents, but to have done it with Mexican technicians and with a company with 100% Mexican capital, making the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas a pioneer port in America in the use of Solid State radars and, without a doubt, one of the best ports on the continent (if not the best) in terms of equipment for Port Security and complying with world guidelines," said Carlos M. Aguilar, of Prodar.

About the integrator
Prodar, SA de CV is a Mexican company with 26 years of experience mainly in High Technology issues, specializing in Electronic Security for Critical and / or Strategic Government Facilities (AAA), and in particular has developed a branch of the business in the Development of Maritime Traffic Control Centers. Prodar, for example, installed the first Maritime Traffic Control Center in Mexico in 1999 and has installed systems in several ports around the world.

Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Author: Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Jefe Editorial en Latin Press, Inc,.
Comunicador Social y Periodista con experiencia de más de 16 años en medios de comunicación. Apasionado por la tecnología y por esta industria. [email protected]

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