NEW TECH: The new Vessel Traffic Services radar tower on Radar Hill at South Gladstone will replace an existing tower on Facing Hill Island.
NEW TECH: The new Vessel Traffic Services radar tower on Radar Hill at South Gladstone will replace an existing tower on Facing Hill Island. Mike Richards GLA100918RADR

Why our new radar tower could be a lifesaver

GLADSTONE'S new Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) radar tower is up and running on Radar Hill.

The tower, which was designed by Brisbane-based firm Australian Maritime Systems Group and is operated by Maritime Safety Queensland, is designed to track shipping approaching and sailing within Gladstone Port.

It replaces an existing radar tower on Facing Hill Island.

Older radar systems at large ports in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hay Point have also been replaced by the new technology.

A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said Gladstone's tower would provide better radar coverage and would be more easily accessed for maintenance than the Facing Hill installation.

It will also serve as the backup for the Townsville VTS, which manages traffic through the notoriously difficult-to-navigate Great Barrier Reef area.

"The Gladstone VTS centre... has the same communication and ship tracking capability," the spokesman said.