For discussion FCR(96-97)67
on 1 November 1996


Marine Department
New Subhead "Mirs Bay Vessel Traffic Centre - Equipment"

Members are invited to approve a new commitment of $34.2 million for Director of Marine to procure and install equipment for the extension of the existing vessel traffic service to cover Mirs Bay and the Tolo Harbour.


We need to procure and install radar, communication and signal relaying equipment in order to extend vessel traffic service to cover Mirs Bay and the Tolo Harbour.


2. We propose to allocate $34.2 million to the Director of Marine
(D of M) for the procurement and installation of radar, communication and signal relaying equipment to provide vessel traffic service in Mirs Bay and the Tolo Harbour.


3. There has been steady growth in marine traffic in Mirs Bay and its approaches in recent years as more ships heading for Southern China seek to use Hong Kong waters and as we put to use certain major port facilities along the Tolo Harbour. The latter facilities include the Town Gas Naphtha Terminal, a sludge tanker pier and waterfront sites for handling cement and other building materials. There are currently about 30 900 vessel movements a year in the region.

4. Separately, the commissioning of cargo terminals at the Yantian port on the northern shore of Mirs Bay in China and its planned expansion will increase marine traffic in the vicinity. D of M estimates that by the year 2000 the number of vessel movements in this region will increase to 90 000 per annum or 250 per day. Unless properly managed, this could affect adversely marine safety and result in, for instance, more cases of collisions and stranding. Any accidents (especially those involving loaded tankers or container vessels with large fuel tanks) could damage the marine environment in the north-eastern waters of Hong Kong which are of considerable ecological beauty and recreational value. There is therefore a need to actively monitor vessel traffic movements in the region.

5. At present, the Vessel Traffic Centre in Central and its supporting remote radar stations do not cover Mirs Bay and the Tolo Harbour. To enable the Marine Department to monitor marine traffic and to respond promptly to emergencies in this region, Members approved the construction of a remote radar station on Ping Chau in Mirs Bay at the Finance Committee meeting on 19 July 1996. The radar station is to detect vessel movements in Mirs Bay and its approaches and relay the signals collected, through the microwave link and repeater in Tai Mo Shan, back to the Vessel Traffic Centre in Central. Duty officers in the Centre will then be able to give timely directions to any ships detected to be in danger so as to avoid an accident.

6. To equip the remote radar station, we need to install a radar system. We also need to install signal relaying equipment in Tai Mo Shan to provide a mid-way station. In addition, the Vessel Traffic Centre in Central will require an additional workstation. The above additional equipment is essential for the monitoring and control of vessel movements in Mirs Bay and the Tolo Harbour.


7. D of M estimates that the equipment and installation works will cost $34.2 million, broken down as follows -


$ million





Installation charges






Contingencies (10%)




8. As regards paragraph 7(a), the cost is for the procurement of one radar system and radio direction finder for the remote radar station at Mirs Bay; communication and signaling equipment such as microwave link and repeater and ancillaries for the station in Tai Mo Shan; and console, radar display unit and radar surveillance system for the Vessel Traffic Centre in Central.

9. As regards paragraph 7(b), the cost is for the installation of the equipment procured.

10. As regards paragraph 7(c), the cost is for items such as factory acceptance tests, documentation, training, and initial spare parts for the maintenance of the equipment.

11. As regards paragraph 7(d), the 10% contingency is to allow for unforeseen but necessary expenditure which might arise from variations in operational requirements and in site conditions.

12. D of M estimates that arising from the proposal, he will require additional recurrent expenditure of $5.4 million a year. This includes an annual staff cost of $3.3 million for eight additional officers (four Assistant Marine Controllers and four Marine Inspectors II) to operate the additional workstation of the Vessel Traffic Centre on a 24-hour basis and $2.1 million for the maintenance and operation of the equipment.

13. The estimated cash flow is as follows -

$ million









If Members approve the proposal, we shall include the necessary provision in the Estimates.

14. D of M currently provides free vessel traffic service to ensure the safety of movement of ships transiting Hong Kong waters. The proposal would have no impact on fees and charges for services provided by the Marine Department.


15. To be fully operational, the Mirs Bay Vessel Traffic Centre would require a suitably designed physical structure (which Members approved at the meeting on 19 July 1996), radar equipment for communication and signal relaying purpose, and a patrol launch. We will deal with the proposal for a patrol launch under delegated authority.

Economic Services Branch
October 1996

Last Updated on 7 Nov, 1996