Most Loran-A Station Closings Postponed

Secretary of Transportation Brock Adams has approved a six-month postponement of the scheduled shutdown of U.S. Loran-A radio navigation service in several major coastal areas.

Loran (Long Range Navigation) is an electronic system using shore-based radio transmitters and shipboard receivers to allow ships to locate their positions at sea.

Loran-A is being replaced by the newer, more accurate Loran-C system, which is being expanded throughout the coastal waters of the continental United States and southern Alaska. Loran-C will overlap Loran-A until termination of the latter is completed.

Once Loran-A is discontinued, only Loran-C will be available.

Loran-C's accuracy and dependability have already been proven on the West Coast and in the Northeast, and will give mariners a definite advantage over Loran-A, according to Coast Guard officials.

Mr. Adams acted on the recommendation of the U.S. Coast Guard to set new winter closing dates that would be less disruptive to maritime operations.

The Secretary approved the following schedule for the closing of the stations: Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands, July 1, 1979, as planned originally; Gulf of Alaska and West Coast stations, December 31, 1979, and Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean (West Indies) stations, December 31, 1980.

A Coast Guard-funded study of problems associated with Loran-A termination, conducted by Oregon State University, pointed out that planned termination dates coincided with peak operating seasons for most commercial fishermen and many other users of Loran-A. The study recommended that the closings be rescheduled to a period of relatively low maritime activity.

Consultation with Sea Grant Marine Extension Agents in all coastal areas, confirmed Coast Guard expectations that termination of Loran-A would be least disruptive to maritime operations during winter months. The Coast Guard found no evidence, however, that extension of Loran-A in the Aleutian and Hawaiian Islands would be beneficial.

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