Protecting the Reef

Protecting the reef


The Great Barrier Reef is set to become even safer for shipping thanks to a state-of-the-art
sea traffic control system designed by an innovative Queensland company.

The system will be one of the world’s most sophisticated and will help coordinate traffic at
five Queensland ports and along 3000kms of the world’s most sensitive sea lanes.

The contract to design and install the new Vessel Traffic Services – Decision Support Tool
(VTS-DST) has been awarded to Brisbane-based Australian Maritime Systems Group
(AMSG) by Maritime Safety Queensland following a global competitive tendering process.
It will replace the REEFVTS shipping control system, which has successfully protected the
Great Barrier Reef since 2004, and the five port control VTS systems at Brisbane, Cairns,
Townsville, Gladstone and Hay Point.

“There are few places on Earth as beautiful and precious as the Great Barrier Reef – or as
challenging for shipping,” said AMSG Managing Director John Sugarman.

“Our system will give VTS operators the clearest and most up-to-date picture they have ever
seen of shipping passing through the Great Barrier Reef.

“And it will also help predict and warn of potential problems – enabling port authorities and
captains to plan even safer journeys.”

Around 4000 commercial vessels a year pass through the waters controlled by REEFVTS.
At the core of the new VTS-DST will be the V3000 traffic management and information
system built by AMSG’s long-time technology partner SAAB and operated by 70 of the
world’s major ports, including Rotterdam, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The system will receive information from radar, CCTV, meteorological sensors and
Automatic Identification System signals emitted from ships via satellite or radio

It will significantly improve the speed, quality and breadth of information passing between
ships and on-shore control centres, improving not only marine safety but also the efficiency
of Queensland’s economically vital sea lanes.

It will also improve severe weather and cyclone-resilience by allowing centres to take over
each other’s area of operations in the event of a natural disaster, ensuring uninterrupted
vessel traffic management.

The $36m installation and maintenance contract was signed between Maritime Safety
Queensland and AMSG in Brisbane earlier this month.
A team of 15 highly-skilled AMSG engineers will deliver the new VTS-DST.

“We’re delighted the Queensland Government has chosen to back a Queensland company
for this important contract,” Mr Sugarman said.

“Australian Maritime Systems Group has some of the best and brightest in the business and
we’re ready to deliver one of the most sophisticated vessel traffic services ever built.”

In April this year AMSG was awarded the contract to design and install a new VTS system at
Western Australia’s Port Hedland – the world’s largest bulk export port – on behalf of Pilbara
Ports Authority (PPA).

And in June the company was awarded a contract by Chevron Australia to design and install
a new VTS system to manage shipping to and from the Gorgon Project on Barrow Island,
60km off the coast of Western Australia.

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Media Contact: Stuart Sherwin, Sequel PR – 0403 090 914 or 07 3251 8144



A contract to upgrade the ‘nerve centre’ for shipping at the Barrow Island port proves the resources sector is continuing to fuel big opportunities for Australian firms.

Australian Maritime Systems Group (AMSG) has been awarded a contract by Chevron Australia to design and install a new Vessel Tracking Service (VTS) system to manage shipping to and from the Chevron-operated Gorgon Project on Barrow Island, 60km off the north-west coast of Western Australia.

AMSG Managing Director John Sugarman said the new Vessel Tracking System will utilise state-of-the-art radar and software systems.

“We’re delighted to continue our work with Chevron Australia,” Mr Sugarman said.

“Our fully integrated technologies will enable maximum safety and efficiency to be achieved at the port.

“Western Australia has become one of our most important markets in recent years and we believe it will continue to offer opportunities to cutting-edge companies like AMSG.”

AMSG installed the existing VTS system and marine aids to navigation during the construction of the Gorgon Project and provided ongoing support and maintenance.

The Port of Barrow Island will utilise Kelvin Hughes radar and the premier Saab V3000 Command and Control VTS Software, which is now used at many of the world’s busiest ports, including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Rotterdam, as well as Darwin and Fremantle in Australia.

The system will be fully designed, built and tested at the AMSG Brisbane factory, then transported to Western Australia for installation and on-site testing and commissioning.

Earlier this year AMSG announced it would design and install a new VTS at Port Hedland – the world’s largest bulk export port – on behalf of Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA).

The company previously installed the VTS now used at the PPA-managed Port of Dampier.

AMSG has also installed off-shore and on-shore marine monitoring systems for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project.

About Australian Maritime Systems

  • Australian Maritime Systems Group (AMSG) is a global leader in providing high quality, innovative and integrated cost effective solutions for maritime service delivery.
  • AMSG specialises in the design, construction and maintenance of maritime structures, aids to navigation and complex surveillance systems and their integration with the latest technology to Commercial and Defence industries.
  • AMSG also specialises in the supply, installation and maintenance of navigational aids, AIS, buoys, radar, sea-level monitoring systems and meteorological ocean equipment,as well as the supply and servicing of maritime and aviation safety apparatus.
  • AMSG has a highly skilled mobile workforce with its head office based in Brisbane and with offices in Cairns, Fremantle, Melbourne and Hobart. This mobile workforce allows AMSG to conduct installation and maintenance of maritime systems and structures by its team members at hundreds of sites along the Australian coastline.
  • AMSG has also completed many extensive and challenging overseas contracts for marine agencies in Canada, Turkey and Papua New Guinea.

For more information visit

Media Contact: Stuart Sherwin, Sequel PR – 0403 090 914 or