A NEW system for maritime traffic control is expected to be operational along the coast of the Algarve by the end of next year, from the São Miguel mountain ridge in the borough of Faro. The Institute of Port and Maritime Transport (IPMT) is responsible for the new system and the equipment is due to be installed throughout the whole of Portugal. The Algarve is expected to construct two radar towers, namely in Estoi, Faro as well as another in the West, at the Ponta do Altar lighthouse in Ferragudo, Portimão.
The aim of this project is to manage and control water traffic, and could also increase security while guaranteeing the protection, control and improvement of the environmental quality of the Portuguese coast. It aims to detect illegal activities at high seas and ensure the cleanliness of vessels, often associated with the rising levels of pollution. Fines against the polluters will help fund the project and ensure its survival.
With the construction of the systems tower, discussions are being raised as to the technology needed. For example, the new technology has the capability to identify ships along the coast. This will allow any unknown ships to be spotted more rapidly and, “in the case of illegal activity, it will be easier to take protective action and apply punitive measures,” says Reis Ágoas, the commander of the maritime zone of the south. It will also be an “important contributor” in the prevention of trafficking and transport of narcotics, as well as clamping down on immigrants illegally using the sea to enter the country.