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UK switches on GPS backup in the English Channel

The General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland (GLA) have announced that ships in the Port of Dover, its approaches and part of the Dover Strait can now use eLoran radio navigation technology as a backup to satnav systems like GPS and Galileo. The ground based eLoran system provides alternative position and timing signals for improved navigational safety. The Dover area, the world’s busiest shipping lane, is the first in the world to achieve this initial operational capability (IOC) for shipping companies operating both passenger and cargo services.

Today’s announcement represents the first of up to seven eLoran installations to be implemented along the East Coast of the United Kingdom. The Thames Estuary and approaches up to Tilbury, the Humber Estuary and approaches, and the ports of Middlesbrough, Grangemouth and Aberdeen will all benefit from new installations, and the prototype service at Harwich and Felixstowe will be upgraded.

 Although primarily intended as a maritime aid to navigation, eLoran could become a cost effective backup for a wide range of applications that are becoming increasingly reliant on the position and timing information provided by satellite systems.

“Our primary concern at the GLA is for the safety of mariners,” says Ian McNaught, Chief Executive of Trinity House, “But signals from eLoran transmitters could also provide essential backup to telecommunications, smart grid and high frequency trading systems vulnerable to jamming by natural or deliberate means.  We encourage ship owners and mariners to assess eLoran in this region and provide feedback to the GLA on its performance.” 

P&O Ferries has installed an eLoran receiver on its new vessel ‘Spirit of Britain’. She will be based at Dover and is one of the largest passenger ships the busy Dover/Calais route has ever seen.

Captain Simon Richardson, Head of Safety Management at P&O Ferries says “Accurate real-time positional information is essential for the safe navigation of ships with modern electronic charts. Satellite navigation systems are vulnerable to degradation of signal strength and our ships have also experienced occasional loss of signal. We welcome the development of a robust alternative to provide redundancy in real-time positional information and we see eLoran as the most effective solution to countering the problem.” 

Commenting on the announcement Stephen Hammond, Minister for Shipping said “I congratulate the General Lighthouse Authorities on this initiative which seeks to improve navigational safety in what is the busiest shipping channel in the world, through the development and deployment of technology. I look forward to receiving reports of its effectiveness."

 

-Ends-

More information is available from www.gla-rrnav.org or by emailing enquiries@gla-rnav.org.

08/01/2013


Notes To Editors

The General Lighthouse Authorities

The General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) of the United Kingdom and Ireland are Trinity House, the Northern Lighthouse Board and the Commissioners of Irish Lights. Together, they have the statutory responsibility for the provision of marine aids to navigation (AtoN) around the British Isles. The GLAs' joint mission is the delivery of a reliable, efficient and cost effective AtoN service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

More information about the General Lighthouse Authorities of UK and Ireland's Research and Radionavigation Department can be found at http://www.gla-rrnav.org/

1. IOC Dover Installation

The IOC Dover installation provided by the GLA is a differential-Loran (DLoran) Reference Station in the Dover area. This is a cost-effective unmanned installation, easily accommodated within existing infrastructure and monitored remotely along with the GLA routine 24/7 monitoring of Aids-to-Navigation. The DLoran reference station determines local navigation corrections and monitors local service integrity for eLoran. The corrections and integrity status are made available on the eLoran Data Channel as an integral part of the eLoran broadcast signal. These can be used by the ship’s receiving equipment to improve the accuracy of positioning and to alert the mariner in the unlikely event that the position cannot be trusted for navigation. The IOC service at Dover covers the region shown in Figure 1, and is marked out by the waypoints shown in Table 1.

 

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Figure 1 – Region of coverage of eLoran implementation in Port of Dover Approaches and Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme.

 

Line from…

to…

Port of Dover

CS4 Buoy

CS4 Buoy

51°   12’N, 1°41’E  

51°   12’N, 1°41’E

Sandettie LV

Sandettie LV

51°09’N,   1° 46’E

51°09’N,   1° 46’E

51°07.5’N,   1°49.5’E

51°07.5’N,   1°49.5’E

50°53.5’N,   1°30’E

50°53.5’N,   1°30’E

50°47’N,   1°27.5’E

50°47’N,   1°27.5’E

Colbart SW Buoy

Colbart SW Buoy

50°55’N,   1°08’E

50°55’N,   1°08’E

51°02.5’N,   1°22’E

51°02.5’N,   1°22’E

Port of Dover

Table 1 – Waypoints enclosing area of Dover ASF map.

 

2. Using the service

In order to use the new service, Additional Secondary Factor (ASF) data should be obtained from the GLAs and stored within the user’s eLoran receiver. ASF data is available for the above region for the Loran transmitters Lessay (6731M, 7499X), Soustons (6731X), Anthorn (6731Y) and Sylt (6731Z, 7499M).  The ASF data was measured in March this year aboard the Trinity House Vessel ‘Alert’.

The GLAs have installed a differential-Loran (DLoran) Reference Station in the Dover area with the assistance of Port of Dover, which is kindly hosting the Reference Station. Differential corrections from this Reference Station are broadcast using the Eurofix Loran Data Channel, message Type 10. The Dover DLoran Reference Station has been assigned ID number 101 in that message format. In order to obtain positioning accuracy at the 10m level both ASFs and differential‑Loran should be used.

 

3. Obtaining receiver equipment

Receiver equipment may be purchased from a number of vendors including:

http://www.skydec.nl/main/products/military-navigation/frigates/extenders/eloran

http://www.roke.co.uk/sensing/milor.html

www.reelektronika.nl

http://www.ursanav.com/