For several years the Spanish government has utilized wave buoys near the Ports of Tarifa and Algeciras in the Strait of Gibraltar to provide wave data to local maritime stakeholders. While this data is useful, the relative small size of the buoys combined with a very high volume of vessel traffic resulted in occasional impacts and loss of data. To overcome this, Puertos del Estado (OPPE) and the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras (APBA) have invested in an Axys WatchKeeper™ met ocean buoy, a much taller and more visible platform with substantially more capabilities.
Sidmar, agent of Axys in Spain, deployed the WatchKeeper™ buoy at the mouth of the Port of Algeciras. A Triaxys™ buoy was re-deployed near Tarifa, on the western side of the strait during the same trip.
The 1.75 metre tall WatchKeeper™ buoy platform measures waves, currents, winds, air pressure, along with a variety of other parameters, then sends its data to shore each hour by GSM telemetry for loading onto the Puertos del Estado website for near real time display. The WatchKeeper™ is outfitted with an AIS AToN (Aid to Navigation) transponder that sends a position (message 21) and a met hydro message (message 8) to AIS equipped transiting vessels and land stations. These outgoing messages not only tell vessel operators the location of the buoy platform, but also what the local meteorological conditions are like. From this data they can make more informed decisions, such as whether to continue an approach to the Port or hold position until the weather improves.
Improved safety and decision making in the Strait of Gibraltar