PORTABLE Pilot Units (PPU) provided by Puma Energy to the Papua New Guinea Ports Corporation (PNGPCL) will help improve the efficiency and safety of PNG Ports’ marine pilots.

Puma purchased the units and trained six senior marine pilots in how to use them earlier this year, meaning the PNGPCL pilots are currently the only certified users of the PPU in PNG.

Designed and distributed by Navicom Dynamics, the PPU is a high-technology tool designed to help pilots manoeuvre ships through the critical parts of the harbour more safely and efficiently than before.

In an announcement, PNGPCL said the groups had joined forces to provide better pilotage services as PNGPCL pilots would be on board vessels transporting Puma’s highly volatile loads.

The PPU is a portable, computer-based system that pilots bring on board vessels to use as a decision-support tool for navigating in confined waters – showing a vessel’s position or movement in real time using an antenna and an electronic chart display.

In addition, PPUs also provide information about the location or movement of other vessels and can also be used to display other types of navigation-related information such as dynamic water levels, current flow, and security zones, PNGPCL said.

Navicom Dynamics chief executive Peter Selwyn said errors in piloting ships through confined waters could be minimised with the accurate and helpful information provided by the system.

The PPU is used by roughly 80 per cent of ports in Australia, he said, while they were also in use in Korea, the United States of America, France and in the Middle East.

One of the recipients of PPU training, Captain John Ajam, said his new knowledge placed him and his colleagues in the next era of marine piloting, consistent with global standards.

“With the PPU, restricted visibility is now a thing of the past.  We can also be able to bring in bigger ships and I believe our job will now be less stressful with the aid of the PPU,” he said.

“The PPU, as an additional aid, would make a big difference in the safe passage of ships, berthing, and unberthing ships.”