Latest PORTS® Installation Sees New Generation Nortek 2D Profiler and AWAC

The Port of Morgan City, Louisiana, an important port supporting the oil and gas industry as well as commodity imports and exports, recently installed an NOAA PORTS® monitoring system to improve navigational safety.

The Port of Morgan City plays an important role in supporting the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico with the Atchafalaya River Channel serving as the link between the Port and the Gulf. Recently, the Port of Morgan City became involved with the supply and shipping of international commodities through rice and grain exports and importing salt. To improve navigation safety in this critical channel and assist with asset management during an emergency, the Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District (MCHTD) procured funding to install real-time data collection systems on the lower portion of the channel compliant with NOAA’s PORTS® Program. To install the platforms, MCHTD contracted with ENCOS of Baton Rouge, LA, which partnered withRPS Evans-Hamilton to conduct the work. RPS Evans-Hamilton has extensive experience supporting NOAA and meeting the high standards required by NOAA for data collection systems, providing data to their programs.

The ENCOS/RPS Evans-Hamilton team designed the platforms to withstand the high wave and wind conditions that periodically occur in this area during large storm events. The northern station, referred to as Eugene Island, is equipped with a primary water level sensor, a meteorological station, a salinity sensor and a backup water level sensor. The southern station is identified as the Atchafalaya Bar Channel and it includes a Nortek 2D Horizontal Current Profiler, a salinity sensor and an upward looking Nortek AWAC providing wave data as well as vertical current profiles. It should be noted that this is the first active site using a Nortek 2D Horizontal Current Profiler to provide currents into the NOAA PORTS® program.

All of the data from Eugene Island and the horizontal current data from the Atchafalaya bar channel are transmitted back to NOAA via a satellite transmitter where it undergoes data quality review and is then posted to the NOAA’s PORTS® webpage The salinity data and the wave/current data from the AWAC on the Atchafalaya Bar channel station are transmitted back via IP modem and accessible on a separate website.

The platforms were installed in the early part of 2015 and data transmission started in mid-February. Mac Wade, Executive Director of the MCHTD, reports that, "The port's investment in these stations will provide value to maritime industry, emergency managers, and local communities."

Nortek 2D profiler at Port of Morgan City

Figure 1. Nortek 2D Horizontal Current Profiler on easily servicable rail system.


Nortek 2D profiler at PoMC

Figure 2. Latest generation Nortek 2D Horizontal Current Profiler with upgraded electronics.


PoMC Eugene Island station

Figure 3. Atchafalaya Bar Channel station at the Port of Morgan City PORTS® installation.