ARCO Installs Unit To Evaluate MARISAT

COMSAT General Corporation recently announced an agreement with Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) for the installation of a terminal to operate with the MARISAT satellite system on the S/S Arco Prudhoe Bay, a 70,000-ton, 525,000-barrel tanker commissioned at Bethlehem Shipyard in Baltimore, Md., in 1971.

Atlantic Richfield plans to conduct a ninemonth evaluation test of satellite communications on this vessel. Additional ships of the Atlantic Richfield communications fleet could be similarly equipped in the future if the outcome of the evaluation proves this new communications medium to be as reliable as expected.

Currently transporting crude oil from Cook Inlet, Alaska, to U.S. West Coast ports, the vessel will also load North Slope crude oil at Valdez, Alaska, when the Trans-Alaska Pipeline becomes operational.

Atlantic Richfield said it looks upon the use of this advanced communications system as a continuation of its investigation of possible ways of enhancing the safety of its vessels, their crews and cargoes. Communications via the shipboard terminal and the MARISAT satellite system could be valuable during those periods when Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) makes it difficult to communicate on high frequencies. To date, 15 commercial vessels have been equipped with COMSAT General terminal facilities. The Arco Prudhoe Bay will be the 16th ship.

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