A consortium of AST Marine Sciences and Slovenia’s EMA Group has secured the UK fisheries vessel monitoring system (VMS) tender from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Under the deal, the AST/EMA consortium will supply and install 300 EMA BlueTraker terminals on UK fishing vessels with lengths between 12m and 15m by the end of 2012.
Developed for the monitoring of fishing vessels in Europe, the BlueTraker VMS terminal offers standard and secured positional data outputs and bidirectional communication.
The design of the BlueTraker VMS terminal integrates all electronics, antennas, GPS receiver, GPRS and satellite communication channels, as well as a back-up rechargeable battery, according to AST.
The BlueTraker terminal features an Iridium-based satellite short burst data service (SBD) that transmits all EU VMS reporting data and offers global coverage at sea.
For each BlueTraker terminal, approximately 100 geographical areas in the form of geofences can be uploaded, edited, activated or deactivated.
AST said that the EU geofence crossing and VMS positions are transmitted via Iridium, and that national geofence entering or exiting and VMS positions are sent either through Iridium or GPRS communication channels, depending upon the rules set for each BlueTraker terminal.
A fail-safe assistance button is also featured in the terminal, allowing crew members to send distress alerts directly from the terminal, even if the vessel is unpowered.
The BlueTraker VMS terminal also uses CAN bus networking to monitor the on-board fishing gear hydraulic pressure switches from the Fisheries Monitoring Centre, allowing the authority to automatically assess the fishing effort for every vessel in the fleet.