Radar systems on Isla del Coco said to be about 70 percent completed

The two radar setup on the Isla del Coco will be much more than an effort to reduce local illegal fishing. One will be involved with air navigation, and the other will scan the seas for drug boats as well as fishing ships. The $3 million project is about 70 percent finished, the government said Wednesday. The money for the project has come from agency budgets and other sources.

The agencies involved are the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz, the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública and the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes through its Dirección General de Aviación Civil. Money also came from the Corporación Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aérea.

The radar will be able to identify aircraft and determine their exact position. Officials said this is important because the island being so distant in the Pacific will provide coverage where there is none now.

Power from the radar comes from two hydro generators on the island. The project calls for installing a tower 30 meters (nearly 100 feet) high on a mountain.

Monday began the job of hooking up the electrical supply for the radar. The Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz has had about 50 technicians on the island to do the job.  The first radar system at Punta Presidio is scheduled to be finished in March. The island is a national park, and its location is about 550 kilometers (341 miles) west of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

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