Associated British Ports (ABP) has opened a new vessel traffic service (VTS) operating room at the Port of Southampton in the UK.
Opened with an investment of £4m, the new office is equipped with modern equipment, including a radar, an automatic identification system (AIS), CCTV cameras and fibre-optic cables.
The port’s vessel traffic service staff will manage the new office.
ABP Southampton port director Alastair Welch said: "ABP Southampton has over 1.8m visitors passing through each year on the Solent, so it's vital our technology matches the scale of our operations.
"Safety is paramount at the port, and our latest investment will ensure the continued safe passage of all vessels on one of the UK's busiest stretches of water."
The port accommodates container ships, cruise liners, small yachts and leisure boats, as well as handles 26 million tonnes of commodities on average every year.
It recently invested £50m in vehicle handling facilities and £8.3m to upgrade its fresh produce terminal.
UK shipping minister John Hayes said: “It is vital for the UK’s economy that the world’s largest commercial and cruise ships are able to call safely at the UK’s world leading ports, keeping goods on our shelves, supporting our exporters and taking people on holiday.
“I am delighted to have officially opened the new vessel traffic centre this morning and to have seen for myself some of the state of the art safety systems that will keep commercial and leisure vessels safe in the waters around the Port of Southampton.
“It is great to see ABP investing in Southampton and supporting this Government's efforts to grow our world class maritime industries.”
ABP, which operates the port of Southampton, currently employs around 15,000 people across the nation and contributes nearly £1bn to the nation’s economy annually.
Image: Shipping Minister John Hayes CBE MP (front row, third from left) and ABP officials at port of Southampton. Photo: courtesy of Associated British Ports.