Guardacostas de EE.UU. instalan sistema de boyas

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) — The Coast Guard plans to use dozens of buoys bobbing off United States coastlines to extend the reach of a security system that monitors large vessels heading in and out of ports.
The buoys, from 9 to 39 feet across, already are in place, used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to collect wind, temperature and wave data.
The weather service has agreed to let the Coast Guard add transmitters to about 70 buoys by 2007, said Jeff High, a director of the Guard’s Maritime Domain Awareness Program in Washington, D.C.
The transmitters will connect to a communications network that this year began receiving signals from all large tankers, barges and cruise vessels heading in and out of major U.S. ports. To legally enter a U.S. port, each vessel must be equipped with a machine that automatically radios information — its cargo, crew list, recent ports of call — to the Coast Guard.
The buoys are intended to extend the network’s reach — the Guard now receives the automated data only when a vessel is within about 25 miles of a port. The floating transmitters will relay the information from hundreds of miles off shore, from the middle of Lake Superior and off coastlines from Alaska to Maine.
«They’re pretty well spread out, they’re essentially all around the coast, into the Atlantic and the Pacific,» High said.
The network, called the Automated Identification System, was originally created to prevent vessel collisions and respond to other maritime accidents, such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, by improving communications between ship captains and authorities. It was planned to be in use by 2008.
The Coast Guard now plans to test transmitters for the buoys early in 2005, probably off Florida’s Gulf coast.
The schedule accelerated after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The Coast Guard has spent $50 million on AIS, which already is in place at big ports such as New Orleans and New York.

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