Enbridge – Pipeline Protection


Virtual Aids to Navigation (VAtoNs) and proactive messages prevent accidental damage to subsea pipeline. 


Enbridge’s Line 5 travels for a distance of 4.5 miles under the Straits of Mackinac, where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet. Providing the majority of heating fuel to Michigan, it is a vital part of the state’s energy infrastructure.

Enbridge and stakeholders identified there was a risk of damage to Line 5 from anchor strikes. They engaged C-FER Technologies, who determined that Guardian alone would reduce the risk of anchor strikes by 89%, but as part of Enbridge’s wider protection program would reduce the risk by 99.5%.


Guardian:protect was deployed to digitally mark the location of Line 5 with AIS Virtual Aids to Navigation (VAtoNs) and provide proactive alert messages to vessels. A Guardian Shore Station was installed on the Enbridge control tower on the southern shore of the Mackinac Straits.


All AIS enabled vessels entering the Straits of Mackinac are sent the alert message “REGULATED AREA:33CFR165.944C**NO ANCHORING”. Guardian records their receipt of this message.


Enbridge created several zones with conditions that trigger events in Guardian Cloud. These provide data to the Enbridge Straits Maritime Operations Center, including a feed that provides location, direction and speed information for automated tracking by high-resolution cameras. Watch their video to see how Enbridge protects Line 5.

“We are pleased to use the proven Guardian system to further enhance protection of the Line 5 pipeline”

– Mike Moeller, Enbridge Regional Director of Operations


Reduced Risk

Vessels can more clearly see the exact location of the pipeline and are proactively reminded they can’t anchor.


By protecting Line 5, Enbridge is protecting the environment in and around the Straits of Mackinac.


The data Guardian provides Enbridge Straits Maritime Operations Center enables faster interventions if required.

Find out more about Guardian