NGS Helps U.S. Coast Guard Protect Endangered Right Whales
System Provides Crucial Information to Sea Captains
FAIRFAX, VA. - Nortel Government Solutions (NGS), a U.S. company wholly owned by Nortel* [TSX: NT | OTC: NRTLQ], announced it has won a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) contract to maintain and support the Mandatory Ship Reporting System (MSR) - a system which is helping the U.S. Coast Guard to protect a critically endangered species of whale. The contract is a re-compete of the original 1999 contract, also won by NGS, for the initial building, implementation and maintenance of the MSR system.
The MSR was originally developed by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help prevent collisions between commercial ships and the endangered North Atlantic right whale **. After whaling nearly wiped them out 100 years ago, there are approximately 350-400 right whales alive today. Their biggest threat today is not from whaling, but from collisions with vessels and entanglements with fishing gear.
The Coast Guard has sought to improve mariner awareness of whale habitats and identifying whale locations has become a key strategy to reduce the risk of ship strikes. Captains, who routinely navigated through right whale habitats, need updated sighting information to avoid these collisions.
In April 1999, the U.S. government won approval to monitor two reporting areas under the the Mandatory Ship Reporting System (MSR) from the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO). Nortel Government Solutions has worked with the USCG through the lifecycle of the Mandatory Ship Reporting System, including its design, development and maintenance. After initial implementation, the system was enhanced to include web enabling of the reporting functions and message updates. Today the MSR helps prevent collisions between right whales and commercial vessels by providing mariners with the most current whale sighting information in and around specific right whale critical habitats. In short, right whales now have the right of way.
A computer server, operated and maintained by Nortel Government Solutions, handles and stores incoming ship reports, which are messages received as standard Internet-based emails or INMARSAT-C (International Maritime Satellite) telexes. NOAA manually populates the MSR with last known locations of right whales. When a vessel reports its entry within either of the two reporting areas, WHALESNORTH - off the Massachusetts coast - or WHALESSOUTH - off the coast of Georgia and Florida - the system provides the vessel with a whale location report and precautionary advice on how to avoid collisions. An interface with the U.S. Coast Guard’s vessel management data provides ship routing information, determines system compliance and identifies probable violators.
From 1999 to 2002, the first three years of the system’s operation, over two thousand valid ship report records were received and processed into the MSR. This knowledge may also contribute to consideration of other initiatives such as possible speed restrictions, re-routing measures, areas to be avoided, navigational safety enhancements, enforceability and economic impact of regulations-all while enhancing educational programs advising mariners on better ways to avoid collisions.
In today’s global economy, container ships are the fastest growing shipping segment. Container ship calls to U.S. Atlantic ports are expected to increase 4% per year through 2020-from 47,000 calls to 93,500 calls. In this increasingly complex and sensitive marine environment, Nortel Government Solutions will continue to support the MSR in providing critical, real-time information to help mariners ensure the endangered right whale continues to have the right-of-way.
About Nortel Government Solutions
Nortel Government Solutions is a network-centric integrator, providing the services expertise, mission-critical systems and secure communications that empower government to ensure the security, livelihood, and well being of its citizens. Headquartered in Fairfax, Va., Nortel Government Solutions offers a one-stop shop for solutions designed to improve workforce productivity, reduce operating costs, and streamline inter-agency communications. Please visit www.nortelgov.com for more information.
Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities that make the promise of Business Made Simple a reality for our customers. Our next-generation technologies, for both service provider and enterprise networks, support multimedia and business-critical applications. Nortel’s technologies are designed to help eliminate today’s barriers to efficiency, speed and performance by simplifying networks and connecting people to the information they need, when they need it. Nortel does business in more than 150 countries around the world. For more information, visit Nortel on the Web at www.nortel.com . For the latest Nortel news, visit www.nortel.com/news .
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