Coast Guard:

Selection of Ports for Establishing or Improving Vessel Traffic Service Systems

RCED-93-110: Published: Mar 19, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 22, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Coast Guard's selection of U.S. ports as sites for new or improved vessel traffic service (VTS) systems, focusing on: (1) whether the Coast Guard's selection plans were consistent with a Research and Special Programs Administration needs study; and (2) the criteria the Coast Guard used for site selections and performance specifications for VTS systems.

GAO found that the Coast Guard: (1) developed VTS plans consistent with the study's recommendation; (2) earmarked 91 percent of the $26.8 million requested for fiscal year (FY) 1993 for VTS systems for the seven top-priority ports that the study identified; (3) estimated it would cost $145 million through FY 2001 to establish or improve VTS systems in 23 ports and improve existing VTS systems in other ports; (4) received only $9 million for FY 1993 for its VTS program, but it did not significantly alter its VTS plans; (5) expected to have VTS systems in all the ports by 2001, plus upgrade equipment in other areas with new VTS technology; (6) budgeted $35 million between FY 1989 and FY 1993 for expanding, improving or reestablishing five VTS systems, and $2.5 million of its FY 1993 budget for program completion; (7) used a cost/benefit analysis to select VTS monitoring stations within ports, and solicited opinions from local Coast Guard personnel and mariners on the most accident prone areas of the ports; and (8) set a possible zero-accident rate as the VTS systems' performance goal.

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