Northern maritime beacons not working

  • Navigational beacon: a fisherman enjoys the afternoon sun on the North Shore, with a navigational light in the distance (File photograph)

    Navigational beacon: a fisherman enjoys the afternoon sun on the North Shore, with a navigational light in the distance (File photograph)

Several beacons around the island are unlit, according to marine navigation warnings.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism and Transport said other mechanisms are in place to ensure marine safety.

The spokesman said: “Despite our best efforts, equipment does fail, at times, due to general wear and tear.

“Unfortunately, the remote marker and beacon locations coupled with poor weather conditions, financial constraints and manpower shortages does make effecting repairs a challenge.

“However, despite some beacons not in operation, the Department of Marine and Ports has in place alternative technologies to ensure marine traffic can continue to safely and efficiently navigate Bermuda’s waters.”

The light on the Eastern Blue Cut beacon was listed as “extinguished” on January 20. Similar warnings were made about the Chub Heads beacon and the Northeast Breaker beacon last September.

Maritime warnings, broadcast every four hours, also warn that the North Rock beacon is “weak”.

The spokesman said that the Department of Marine and Ports broadcast the navigational warnings regularly as part of international best practices.

He said: “Navigational warnings are transmitted every four hours by BMOC on VHF channel 27, Single side band 2582 kHz and NAVTEX 518 kHz to all marine traffic.

“It should also be noted that BMOC actively contacts vessels that enter within 30 nautical miles of Bermuda, to collect their Vessel Traffic Service or VTS information.

“This enables us to provide active monitoring and navigational advice for vessels in our waters.”

The spokesman added that all offshore beacons have a virtual automatic identification system, which provides information to electronic navigational systems to boats in and around Bermuda’s waters.

The spokesman said the maritime navigation warnings also include a post from the International Maritime Organisation to avoid certain areas around the island.

The spokesman added: “The public should be aware that the IMO established the areas around Bermuda to be avoided in the early 1980s.

“As such, the information is not new or out of the ordinary. The areas of avoidance have been in place for almost 40 years.”

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Published Feb 17, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 17, 2020 at 6:56 am)

Northern maritime beacons not working

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