Coast Guard wants long-range ship tracking

The U.S. Coast Guard hopes to develop a long-range system to track sea vessels headed toward the United States.

As mandated by Congress in the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, the Coast Guard is looking for a few good technologies and systems that could identify and track ships before they enter U.S. waters. In a request for information, the Coast Guard said it seeks ideas from vendors about ways to track ships 96 hours in advance of their arrival at a U.S. port, and get those vessels' data, cargo and destinations.

Nat Heiner, the Coast Guard's chief knowledge officer, declined to say how much the contract would be worth. But he said the plan is part of the overall architecture for the Coast Guard, which is now part of the Homeland Security Department.

"The stakes are very high," Heiner said at a luncheon on Oct. 2 sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council.

While he declined to say how the Coast Guard is sharing information with other parts of DHS, Heiner did say that "resources are being set aside to attack the problem, and do so in a way that is joint."

The deadline for vendors to respond to the Coast Guard's request for tracking systems is Nov. 1.

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