The International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN) has announced a near $1.2m investment in safe navigation in the Middle East Gulf, that will see significant recapitalisation of the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) sites it operates in the region, as well as the construction of a new workboat to strengthen its capabilities, when it comes to maintaining Aids to Navigation (AtoNs) in the Middle East Gulf.
The announcement, made during London International Shipping Week, underlines IFAN’s commitment to safe navigation in this important waterway. And the investment, implemented through its Gulf arm, the Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS), will mean the upgrading of the four DGPS sites in the Gulf, starting with Ras Al Khaymah, to ensure against redundancy in case any site fails, or if it has to be shut down for maintenance.
The Ras Al Khaymah DGPS site will be relocated 5km away from the previous location, and only a few meters away from the shore. Dual units at each site will ensure continuous coverage. The vessel, which is being built in the United Arab Emirates, should be operational by the start of October and will have a range of more than 40 Nm, enabling it to reach offshore waters in the Gulf.
Welcoming the announcement, Peter Stanley, CEO of IFAN, (pictured) said the investment would greatly enhance MENAS’s ability to undertake its important maintenance work in the region.
“Investment in the DGPS sites is crucially important if we are to upgrade ageing equipment, he said. “And the enhanced capabilities of the new workboat will strengthen our maintenance of AtoNs in the region. It is part of our overall strategy of renewing our equipment and systems in the region to ensure continued safe navigational aids for ships using this important trade lane.”
MENAS, which is part of the International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN) Group, provides a service of AtoNs fitted with satellite monitoring system and Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders to track the location and the status of the AtoN equipment, and using AIS data, to monitor passing traffic and carry out risk assessments.