Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
The IMO defines a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) as a service implemented by a Competent Authority, designed to improve the safety and efficiency of vessel traffic and to protect the environment. The service should have the capability to interact with the traffic and to respond to traffic situations developing in the VTS area. The IALA VTS Manual states that “The realities of modern shipping, with larger and less manoeuvrable ships, traffic congestion in ports and waterways, hazardous cargoes and the potential for environmental damage, demanded that sophisticated measures be taken to reduce risks. Establishing Vessel Traffic Services was and still is a significant response to that demand”.
The IMO identifies three types of service that can be provided by a VTS:
The title of each service in each case is largely self-explanatory. In its simplest form, a VTS may provide basic information on which the master of the vessel bases his own decisions without further intervention from ashore. More usually, however, a VTS is also directly involved in the organisation and management of vessel traffic within its area of responsibility. As part of these services, the VTS should provide an oversight of the navigational safety of vessels and provide navigational assistance and advice if appropriate.
The VTS should be manned by personnel nationally certificated to the internationally recognised IALA V103 course standard. The types of service provided by a VTS will be promulgated in appropriate hydrographic publications.
IALA is a non-profit, international technical association. Established in 1957, it brings together authorities concerned with marine aids to navigation, as well as manufactures and consultants from all parts of the world, and offers them the opportunity to compare their experiences and achievements. IALA’s aim is to harmonize aids to navigation worldwide and to ensure that the movements of vessels are safe, expeditious, cost-effective and harmless to the environment. VTS documentation and standards in the form of standards, recommendations, guidelines, brochures and the VTS Manual are available free of charge for download under the “Publications” tab on the IALA website.
Aids to navigation can take the form of fixed or floating marks that may be lit or unlit, including lighthouses, leading lines, buoys and beacons. A vessel traffic service (VTS) can also be categorised as an AtoN, albeit a very sophisticated and relatively costly one. The mix of AtoN used in a port or waterway is determined by means of a risk assessment, which takes into account the local geography, traffic patterns, vessel size and manoeuvrability, local hydrographic conditions and weather patterns. IALA publications include guidance on maintenance and location of AtoN.
There is still time to complete the GLAs’ Differential GPS user survey
Survey responses can be provided until 31 December 2018. The survey can be completed online or may be posted.
The General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland are conducting a survey to gauge current and future user requirements for their Differential GPS service.
The 1st International Shipmasters’ Congress
Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry
The India Habitat Centre
New Delhi, India
25-27 September 2019
ISC ’19 Invitation to submit abstracts
IFSMA, the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations, and CMMI, the Company of Master Mariners of India, cordially invite all members of the maritime / marine scientific and professional community to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations at ISC ’19, the International Shipmasters’ Congress 2019, which is scheduled to be held from 25 to 27 September 2019 at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India addressing the theme Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry.
ISC ’19 is organized by the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA) in co-operation with the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI) and enjoys the kind support of the Indian Ministry of Shipping, the Indian Maritime University, the HSB | City University of Applied Sciences and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.
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