Western Region

Operational Stations
Marine Communications Officers
Located at the Canadian Coast Guard Base Seal Cove, near the city of Prince Rupert, B.C., the Prince Rupert Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre serves the British Columbia north coast waters. Comprised of two sectors, the VTS zone is the largest in Canada, extending from Cape Caution, north to the Alaskan border, including the Queen Charlotte Islands, encompassing more than 60,000 square kilometers (38,400 square miles).

Like many other Centres across the country, the Prince Rupert MCTS Centre saw integration of both radio and vessel traffic services functions in 1996. New console configurations were drawn up and installed making multi-task Radio/VTS operations a reality. The Prince Rupert MCTS Centre controls VHF, MF and HF communications sites at Prince Rupert, Hunter Point, Barry Inlet, Cumshewa, Dundas Island, Kitimat, Klemtu, Rose Inlet, Mount Dent, Mount Gil, Mount Hays, Naden Harbour, Van Inlet and Calvert Island.

Coast Guard Radio Station (CGRS)

The radio station of Prince Rupert opened in 1911 and was located on Digby Island. The cable to the mainland was laid and a landline was built along the Grand Trunk poles to the city of Prince Rupert. The opening of the Prince Rupert radio station marked the completion of a chain of communication extending from Vancouver to northern British Columbia. The province now had full coverage of its coast. The chain of stations provided the only means of communication with the Queen Charlotte Islands, plus offering communications services to commercial stations installed by owners of lumber camps, canneries, and paper mills.

The station covered the entrance to Prince Rupert Harbour as well as the surrounding waters of Digby Island.

A Mr. Cameron was a commercial land telegrapher and was the first operator at Prince Rupert in 1911. He did not last long and was relieved by Jim Harker.

The station would remain at Digby Island until 1967 when its services were combined with those of Prince Rupert aeradio. In 1981, marine communications were moved to Seal Cove.

Vessel Traffic Services (VTS)

Effective Treasury Board approval to provide Vessel Traffic Services for British Columbia north coast waters was received on September 9, 1983. This installation was closely linked to the Ridley Island development, both coal loading and grain handling facilities.

Construction began shortly after, with a target date of January 1, 1984 for operational start-up. Traffic statistics have since shown constant increases. It was initially determined that a VHF communications system only would be installed in the zone. However, radar surveillance would be considered in the future, if situations of traffic density and volumes were to increase significantly. Ten remote VHF sites were constructed and operational by 1984, and an additional site was installed in Kitimat in late 1988.

An additional VHF site, located at Rose Harbour, near the southern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands, was made operational during the summer of 1994.

In order to increase safety and ensure all vessels communicate on the same VTS sector frequency, the Pacific Pilotage Authority and Pacific Pilots Ltd. suggested re-aligning the sector boundaries near the approaches to the pilot boarding station at Triple Island. It was decided to re-define Sector II to include all of Dixon Entrance (west and east) and Chatham Sound. This change resulted in the elimination of a sector frequency change for inbound/outbound. It's not uncommon to have 8 cruise ships, 2 other foreign-going deep sea ships embarking/disembarking pilots, tug and tows, barges and fishing vessels all operating simultaneously within the close confines of Brown Passage, near the boarding station.
Unifor Local 2182
Prince Rupert / VAJ
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