Tracking Every Movement

By Rachel Greco

Back in 2007, Tim McIntosh, now the director of JAARS Maritime Department, began working with SIL Papua New Guinea (PNG) as an administrator for their boat, the Kwadima II. The vessel’s crew ferried translators back and forth among the islands that dot the Milne Bay area of PNG. The only way Tim could communicate with the crew was via HF and VHF radio—and then only if they were in range of the towers. Cell phone service in that area was spotty. 

With no technology available for tracking, every four hours Tim had to contact the boat via radio; his chances of being able to hear, copy, and understand what the crew said were slim if the crew was outside of VHF range. “It was really frustrating,” Tim said. 

A few years later, a V2 Track device was installed on the boat to provide a better way of tracking the vessel. This device uses satellite data, so the boat’s location can be checked at any given time. 

An image from the V2 track following the Kwadima II’s progress

When JAARS updated the Kwadima II, in partnership with Living Water Mission (LWM), we updated the equipment to ensure that the current translation teams who use the boat remain as safe as possible. The user can choose how often the V2 Track plots the position of the boat, whether it’s every twenty minutes using satellite data or every minute using cell phone towers. So Steve Ottaviano, who’s in charge of maintaining the vessel, can follow its progress almost in real time from his desk here in the U.S.—8,800 miles from PNG. 

One of the teams in the Milne Bay Province that uses the Kwadima II

This ability came in handy when the water pump, which cools the boat’s engine, broke during a routine trade journey. Steve watched on the map as the boat made several stops from Alotau to Bwagaoia on Misima Island. The crew even pressed the “I’m okay” button on the boat’s V2 track once they reached Bwagaoia—alerting Steve; Guy Wilson, who runs LWM; and Tim that they had made it back to their home base safely. 

The crew pushed the ‘I’m OK’ button when they reached their home base

This technology ensures the crew is safe or can receive the help they need at all times. “The text capability of the V2 Track and being able to monitor positions is super valuable,” Tim said. Part of his feature is a red emergency button that can alert Guy and the others if immediate help is required. 

Without the water pump, the Kwadima II’s engine could have overheated. So trips for translators to remote villages and LWM were suspended until a new pump could be ordered and installed. To bridge the gap, Guy found a used water pump locally and installed it as a temporary measure. And with gifts from people like you who give to Maritime Solutions, Steve and Tim could purchase a new pump and have it express-shipped to PNG. “We’re just thankful Guy’s going to have the new one very quickly, if he doesn’t already,” Steve said. They also sent Guy a new starter to replace the other one, which had broken down.

Now the Kwadima II is back in business, able to ferry the Misima translation team to Kuanak, the southern-most island in the Misima language area. They needed to test their translation of 2 Kings with local language speakers to make sure it is accurate and natural-sounding. According to Bill and Sandra Callister, the translation advisors for the Misima team: “This is a necessary step before the translation can be finalized and passed to a consultant to also check, and approve, before publishing.” And you helped make it possible! 

More good news! Guy and the Kwadima II have also delivered computer equipment, translation printouts, and letters to the Saisai language team working in this area. Praise the Lord for how he is using the Kwadima II to further his kingdom in the Pacific! 

You can help keep this vessel afloat and its crew and passengers safe when you give to Maritime Solutions. Thank you!