The Coast Guard says a pilot freight tracker program won’t be implemented until next year in Port Angeles and the area around Port Coquihalla, citing the lack of a proper pilot fleet.
In a news release Friday, the Coast Guard said it is looking for additional pilot freight trackers that have a fleet of four or more vehicles.
“The pilot program is currently operating with no significant delays, but due to the pilot’s current limited capacity, the pilot is not expected to be operational until the middle of the year,” said Lt.
Dan Tappen of the Coast Guards Maritime Patrol, which is coordinating the pilot.
The Coast Guards pilot program has been in the works since 2016, but the Coast Services Agency has not yet finalized its budget or contracted with a pilot program provider.
The CBSA said it would conduct a review of the pilot program and then decide on a new contract.
Tappens said the Coast Service is trying to figure out how to get the pilot started before the end of the month.
The pilot program allows for the delivery of two commercial ships and four ships of a single class.
The Maritime Services Agency says the pilot fleet will include four ship types: small-class freighters, small- and medium-class passenger vessels, cargo ships and small cargo carriers.
The new program also provides for the construction of an advanced, high-speed maritime tracking facility, including an unmanned aerial vehicle and advanced oceanography equipment.
The program will operate from September through March, with a scheduled end date of March 2019.
The Coast Guard is also looking for an additional pilot to conduct an automated maritime search and rescue (AMSAR) operation from October through December.
AMSAR is an aerial maritime search-and-rescue service that has been used in the past by the Coast Protection Service, which has operated from Port Coquetra to Port Cooquitlam.
The pilot is also using a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) system to provide maritime patrol for the Maritime Services agency.
Tappens noted that the pilot ships will have to be equipped with an external power supply, which the Coast Protectors would be responsible for supplying.
The agency said it plans to conduct its own independent investigation of the Maritime Service’s pilot program.