Coast Guard to Install Camera System on Beaumont, Texas, Port Property

Port of Beaumont commissioners approved a lease to allow the U.S. Coast Guard to station cameras on the port's property for a vessel traffic system.

The Coast Guard will pay the port $300 a month in exchange for housing the two cameras, said Chris Fisher, the port's executive director.

The lease is for 10 years, bringing the total to $36,000.

The traffic system is supposed to improve channel security and transportation efficiency, he said.

It acts similarly to an air-traffic control system, providing the Coast Guard with the ability to track ship traffic, said Lt. Ian Bird, a Coast Guard spokesman.

Ports in New Orleans and Houston already use the system.

Setting up the system along the Sabine-Neches Waterway is in its infancy, Bird said in a telephone interview.

There is no timetable for completion or a total project cost available yet, Bird said.

Commissioners also authorized additional funding for two security projects.

After six weeks into building a new command and control center at the port, the estimated $398,000 project has proved to be more costly than expected.

An extra $3,500 will be needed, Fisher said.

Grant money totaling $230,000 will pay for the bulk of the nine-month project to replace a small guard shack at the entrance to the port's wharves.

Adding razor wire fencing to the port's Orange County property cost about $109,000, all of which came from grant money, he said.

The original cost was estimated at $97,500, but commissioners agreed to spend more money for timber mats to be placed on the property. The mats will allow easier access onto the property, Fisher said.