10 Jan 2013

Back-up navigation guides ships in Dover Straits

The UK's Dover Strait - considered to be the world’s busiest shipping route - is the first to deploy eLoran radio navigation technology to counter jammers and space weather.

The General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland (GLA) has turned on a radio station which broadcasts fine-tuned eLoran signals so ships fitted with eLoran receivers in the Port of Dover, its approaches and part of the Dover Strait can now use the technology as a backup to satnav systems.

The technology is based around longwave radio signals that already broadcast from nine separate stations in Northwest England, France, Germany, and the Faroe Islands.

The latest announcement from GLA 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.

“Our primary concern at the GLA is for the safety of mariners,” says Ian McNaught, Chief Executive of Shipping Authority, 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.”

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