Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Using technology to enhance the blue economy was the focus of the weekly speech at the 2019 Alaska Business Roundtable luncheon.
Captain Ed Page, Executive Director of the Alaska Marine Exchange, was the features speaker.
Page said the unique operation in Juneau is designed to provide the Alaska maritime community information, communications and services to ensure safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible maritime operations.
He said billions of dollars in cargo are carried by vessels each year and play a huge impact on the economy.
U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski met with President Donald Trump at the White House Wednesday with the focus being maritime issues.
Freight transport is the cheapest way to send cargo.
Among the services the exchange provides are vessel traffic management, a 24-hour operations center, environmental sensors and data dissemination, weather, wind and tidal current, dissemination of information to mariners, ice reports, safety, notice of environmentally sensitive area and areas to be avoided.
"We are going to reduce the risk to vessels that operate within Alaska borders," Page said.
They receive funding from the maritime industry, the state of Alaska and the U.S. Coast Guard. "The information helps keep cruise ships safe."
It is the cheapest way that the U.S. Coast Guard receives this information.
He said there is concern about the new frontier, the Arctic. He noted cruise ship safety is another area of emphasis.
Alaska has 456 shipping companies and 3,500 different vessels.
They also monitor vessels of concern with issues that include reduced speed, erratic maneuvers, transit through an unauthorized pass, too close to shore, loss of propulsion, loss of steering, and loss of stability. They keep a close eye on the ships which come in handy should there be a maintenance problem or accident.
Ships break down all the time. When they do, the Marine Exchange knows about it and acts upon it. They help track the vessels for the U.S. Coast Guard because rescues are often necessary.
They also provide virtual aids to navigation, location of whalers, and other information.
In Juneau, they helped with the proposed dock expansion alternatives navigation study. They installed wind and environmental sensors at the port of Juneau for cruise facilities.
They have also helped in the past with the monitoring of cruise ship discharges.
They currently have 21 employees Employees also helped with the Eldred Rock Lighthouse restoration.
The exchange will host a Chambers after-hours event on Thursday, May 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. at 1050 Harbor Way. The open house will feature food, drink and door prizes.
The Chamber is seeking sponsors for the weekly luncheons. The cost is $500 per month. The luncheons move to the Moose Lodge on Thursday, May 9.