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AMHS launches real-time ferry tracking

Posted: August 17, 2011 - 8:34pm

The Alaska Marine Highway System has launched real-time vessel tracking on its updated website. Nine of the fleet’s 11 ferries have been outfitted with satellite tracking hardware to pinpoint locations in real time from the Alaska Marine Highway website at FerryAlaska.com.

The system map is on the main navigation page under the “Plan a Trip” tab. Visitors may search by vessel names or community through drop-down menus. Available information on each vessel includes navigation status, location, course, speed, destination, estimated time of arrival and time of last update. Each vessel’s size, carrying capacity, vehicle quantity, even the year it was built is available. Images, terminal locations and other demographic information available for cities served also aids navigation.

“We did this to make the system more user-friendly for those meeting other people out on the ships,” said Capt. Michael Neussl, the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities’ deputy commissioner for marine operations.

He said the ability for anyone to determine ship arrivals at particular terminals in real time will serve as an invaluable user aid, especially late at night or hours when the office is closed.

The fast ferries Chenega and Fairweather are not yet equipped for online tracking. Neussl said they’re expected to be equipped with the satellite communication equipment some time in the coming year.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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