NOAA installs ocean observing system to aid Pascagoula mariners

The following is a press release issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
(PASCAGOULA, Miss.) — Mariners can now get free real-time information on water and wind conditions for the Port of Pascagoula, Miss., from a new NOAA ocean observing system at the port.

The NOAA Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) provides observations of water levels, currents, salinity, wind speed and direction, and bridge clearance through an easy-to-use Web portal.

“NOAA is committed to providing real-time environmental data through PORTS® and other integrated ocean observing systems to ensure safe, efficient navigation within our nation’s ports and beyond,” said John H. Dunnigan, NOAA assistant administrator for the National Ocean Service. “NOAA is pleased to add the Port of Pascagoula to the nationwide PORTS® network.”

Administered by the NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, PORTS® can significantly reduce the risk of vessel groundings and increase the amount of cargo moved through the port by enabling mariners to safely utilize every inch of dredged channel depth.

 “The real-time oceanographic and meteorological information provided by PORTS® will not only provide commercial and recreational mariners with reliable navigational information for safe and efficient travel but will also enhance local weather and coastal marine forecasting,” said Senator Thad Cochran. “I am proud to have this important technology located in the Port of Pascagoula.” 

The Pascagoula system brings the number of PORTS® in operation around the nation to 15. Estimates of economic benefits directly attributed to PORTS® range from $7 million per year for Tampa Bay to $16 million per year for Houston-Galveston.

“Navigation safety is vital to recreational boaters, the commercial fishing industry as well as the shipping industry,” said Mark McAndrews, director of the Port of Pascagoula. “PORTS® offers state-of-the-art technology that will be available 24/7 to assist in navigation preparation. The system will also provide important data for search and rescue, weather forecasters, federal agencies and emergency management offices.”

The Port of Pascagoula is the largest of the state’s 16 ports. Collectively, Mississippi’s ports contribute $1.4 billion and some 34,000 direct and indirect jobs to the state’s economy.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

By Professional Mariner Staff