World takes marine tips from busiest port
The international marine community has been briefed on how Hong Kong manages traffic in the world's busiest port.
The Marine Department addressed the International Conference on Prevention of Collisions at Sea in the Chinese port of Dalian, Liaoning province, at the weekend.
Overseas countries were keen to learn how collisions were avoided in the territory's crowded waters, principal marine officer Roger Tupper said.
Few, if any, other ports in the world have to deal with the huge diversity of craft that ply the territory's waters.
'We have the largest container vessels and the smallest boats, such as sampans. We also have more fast ferries, such as the jetfoils and jet-catamarans, than anywhere else,' Mr Tupper said.
'Operating in the same environment we also have a whole mass of tugs and tows. We use techniques that are semi-unique to Hong Kong. But any port that is developing would be wise to see how things are done here.' The Marine Department is upgrading and adding to its vessel traffic monitoring system, which comprises eight radars, covering 95 per cent of local waters, which relay information to the traffic control centre.
An additional radar is to be installed to cover Mirs Bay before 1999.
High frequency VHF direction finders target ships approaching Hong Kong and establish their particulars.
A new direction finder is being installed at Black Point, covering Deep Bay, to lock on to vessels approaching the territory from Chinese ports in the northwest.
Marine control stations have been established in 'traffic conflict areas', such as Ma Wan, where a station was opened last year.
Traffic lights are also in use there to help ships negotiate a blind bend. Work is to start this year on a new control station to cover the northern fairway at Kwai Chung.
Mr Tupper said authorities had also upgraded their computer data base and new marine launches had been introduced and operating hours extended to meet the large increase in river trade.
The Marine Department is planning ahead to 2011.
The Port Development Board predicts there will be a three-fold increase in container traffic in the next 20 years.