Atlantic Region

Operational Stations
Marine Communications Officers
Placentia MCTS Centre is composed of the former St. Lawrence Coast Guard Radio Station and the former Placentia Vessel Traffic Services Centre. Located in the port of Argentia, the MCTS Centre's Area of Responsibility (AOR) stretches from Cape Ballard in the east to Ramea in the west.

A major part of this AOR is the Placentia Bay VTS zone. The MCTS Centre monitors and regulates traffic within this zone which includes the ports of Argentia, Long Harbour, Arnold's Cove, Marystown, Burin, Come-by-Chance and Whiften Head. The radar sites at Cuslett, Pearce Peak and Arnold's Cove provide excellent coverage of the shipping lanes in the bay.

St. Lawrence CGRS was remote to Placentia MCTS Centre in April 1997. With the Newfoundland Transhipment Facility now opened at Whiften Head to handle Hibernia Crude, oil traffic is increasing yearly. The impending development of the Terra Nova Oilfield is also expected to contribute to another increase in tanker traffic. Placentia Bay is a busy, bustling place with many competing interests.

Vessel Traffic Services (VTS)

Until 1940, Argentia was a quiet village of about 115 families. The American naval operating base Argentia was officially commissioned August 28, 1941. The marine traffic patterns were affected by the many changes of the late 60's and early 70's in and around Placentia Bay. Large and modern deep sea trawlers were operating from large fish processing plants at Burin, Marystown and Arnold's Cove; the construction of the shipyard at Marystown and later the Oil Rig Repair facility; the establishment at large passenger/car ferries to Argentia from North Sydney; development of Argentia as a transhipment port for fresh, frozen an salted fish products to foreign countries; the construction of the world's largest phosphorous plant at Long Harbour; and the construction of the Come-by-Chance Oil Refinery. These changes and developments dictated a need for more control over vessel traffic to enhance the safety of the mariner and protection of the environment. Thus, in 1973, the Placentia Bay Vessel Traffic Services had its beginning.

In the early days VTS monitored tankers for their first "VTS Mobile Unit" the CCGS Bartlett anchored off Argentia. The first equipment was a ship's radar with the scanner mounted on the roof of the building. Later, remote radar and VHF sites became operational at Arnold's Cove and Cuslett and radar and VHF site at Freshwater with mission control centre at Argentia. Later, the closure of the Refinery and Coast Guard's reassessment of its resources saw a reduction of staff, and relocation of the Cuslett radar and VHF equipment to Port aux Basques, and the fit of a new VTS system.

In the years that followed, traffic volumes remained fairly constant with the Centre being used extensively to train Marine Traffic Regulators (MTRs) for other centres. Then in 1985 came the Federal Government's decision to close the Placentia Bay VTS system. This decision was reversed in the eleventh hour due to the lobbying efforts of the provincial government and the local users. In August 1987, the Come-by-Chance Refinery was re-activated and traffic volumes reached an all time high in 1988. In response to this increase in traffic, the outdated radar equipment was replaced in December 1992 with new technology.
Unifor Local 2182
Placentia / VCP
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