New tug simulator makes debut at West Coast training facility

By Gregory M. Walsh  Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle has developed a training program incorporating what it said is the only full-scale marine simulation program in the United States developed exclusively for tugboat operators. PMI's marine simulation theater, designed as an actual tugboat wheelhouse, includes full controls for tractor-style tugs and conventional tugs, simulation programs involving typical tugboat scenarios and…
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Bouchard’s ATB fleet leads the pack

It is hardly a race, but Bouchard Transportation of New York finished up in 2006 with the largest fleet of articulated tug barges (ATBs) in the nation. Other East Coast companies, notably Penn Maritime and K-Sea Transportation, are seemingly working hard to best the Bouchard ATB fleet.At the end of the year Bouchard, which has been converting existing tug-barge assets…
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Towing winches: Brute machines for offshore tugs

Aside from those massive diesel engines, the real brute force found at the heart of every offshore tugboat is its towing winch. Almost nothing is towed in offshore waters without a towing winch. And no matter how modern the rest of a tug's equipment, the towing winch has changed little from its original design.   The winches that get all…
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Compelling electronic displays may have contributed to collision

Over-reliance on an electronically integrated navigation system by an inadequately trained operator may have played a significant role in a collision between Atlantic Huron and the Canadian Coast Guard buoy tender Griffon in September 2000, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has concluded. The collision occurred on western Lake Erie at night in good visibility. The Coast Guard vessel was…
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In response to terror concerns, AIS website limits access to live data

A British-based company has stopped offering on its free website live, detailed automatic identification system (AIS) data gathered from networks worldwide after a shipping organization complained terrorists or pirates could use the information to endanger shipping. AIS Live Ltd., a Dutch-British company decided to limit vessel information on its public website and restrict the more detailed service to annual subscribers,…
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2004 Plimsoll Awards won by Mississippi river pilot, Coast Guard R&D Center for support of AIS

The editors of Professional Mariner have presented the Plimsoll Awards for 2004 to Capt. Douglas J. Grubbs of the Crescent River Port Pilots' Association and to the U.S. Coast Guard's Research and Development Center in Groton, Conn. Grubbs and the R&D Center were honored for their work in developing automatic identification system technology and promoting its acceptance by mariners. Rear…
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AIS makes its presence felt

It's one of the most revolutionary developments in marine navigation: the universal automatic identification system (AIS). The transponder broadcasts a broad range of information about a ship on VHF marine radio, including its position, speed, direction, cargo, classification and destination. An AIS unit transmits all this information in real time, ship to ship and ship to shore, without a central…
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Integrating AIS with other bridge electronics

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) was originally conceived as a safety and navigation aid for ships at sea. Mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and implemented and enforced by member states, AIS provides information otherwise unavailable to a crew. AIS transponders act as conduits for information about a vessel, gathering both dynamic data about a ship, such as position,…
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