Pilots in the Port of Brisbane, one of Australia’s fastest growing container ports, are using the word “unmatched” when describing the performance of new navigational equipment from electronic navigation specialist Simrad, a brand within the Navico group. Installed during the recent refit of the pilot boat Amity, the equipment installations include an NSS12 evo2, 12-inch chart-plotter and multifunction display with GPS positioning, supported by a Simrad GS25 GPS antenna, as well as the recently-launched Simrad Halo 3ft Radar operating with the latest Pulse Compression technology. She is the latest of three pilot vessels owned and operated by Brisbane Marine Pilots in Brisbane River. All are now successfully operating the revolutionary Halo radar system. Meanwhile, a fourth vessel fitted with the Halo radar system is operating out of Mooloolaba port.
Speaking for the Brisbane Marine Pilots authority, Senior Coxswain Neal Higgs explains the decision to install Simrad’s latest solid-state Pulse Compression technology and positioning system rather than the high-powered fixed frequency magnetron systems used in traditional radar.
“We are seeing a range of benefits from the new Halo Pulse Compression technology, ” he says. “As pilots, one of the most important advantages is the simultaneous display of close and long-range targets. It’s like having two open scanners combined in one. The super-clear display has no clutter and unmatched target resolution. This latest technology provides us with invaluable support in the safe navigation of ships in Brisbane’s busy port approaches and terminal areas.”
Jose Herrero, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Navico Commercial Division outlines some of the benefits of Halo Pulse Compression systems. “The Simrad Halo Pulse Compression radar offers the most powerful signal processing capability, ” he explains, “which gives unmatched and simultaneous short- and long-range detection and definition. The solid-state technology requires no warm-up time and is therefore instantly available and, unlike magnetron-based radar systems, there is no damaging radiation requiring systems to be turned off as pilots embark and leave the vessel.”
Disclosing that the Pulse Compression technology has taken more than ten years and at least $15m to develop, Jose lists a range of other positive features of the installation on board Amity. These include bright easy-to-use screens, dual cartography support from both Navionics and C-map, and instant updates available online.
The Commercial Marine Division is receiving a stream of enquiries for Halo, chart-plotting and other navigation aids from both the commercial and leisure boat sectors. In the short term, Brisbane pilots and several other workboat vessels working within the port are likely to have similar Simrad installations soon.
“This diverse market holds huge potential for us, ” Jose says, “and is specifically targeting the fantastic opportunities in the light commercial space where the technology we have developed is directly relevant in many ferry, fishing, patrol and inshore workboat sectors.”
“It is also the latest ‘must-have’ for leisure craft operators, ” he adds. “This is great because one, our technology is way ahead of the competition and two, our service and after-sales support teams are second to none, with truly global reach.”
Meanwhile Simrad Halo radar has also been chosen for an entirely new pilot boat currently under construction at Brisbane-based Norman R. Wright and Sons for Darwin Port Pilot Service. The family-owned firm builds a range of commercial and leisure vessels up to 120 feet in length and 120 tonnes in weight.
About Simrad: Simrad, a brand within the world’s largest marine electronics group Navico, specialises in electronic technology solutions for commercial vessels. The company’s products include sophisticated radar, auto-steering, navigation and safety products for vessels of all sizes – from small vessels on inland waterways to larger coastal commercial and passenger ships. As part of the Navico group of companies which also includes the Lowrance and B&G brands, Simrad benefits from Navico’s global network which comprises manufacturing and service centres in the US, Mexico, UK, Middle East, South Korea, Sydney and New Zealand.