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.
VIKING Life-Saving Equipment has been declared the winning bidder in a tender covering three offshore high-speed ambulance boats that will support emergency services in the Aegean Sea.
The international tender was concluded after a cooperation between the Hellenic Coast Guard and the Greek Emergency Response Organization (EKAB) in an initiative supported and financed by the European Union under the INTERREG V-A Cooperation Programme 2014-2020.
It is understood that all three ambulance boats are scheduled for delivery during the summer of 2020, to take up station operating from remote Greek islands in the Aegean.
The vessels will be fabricated using the successful VIKING Norsafe Munin S1200 design and will be equipped with twin-diesel stern-drive engines to achieve speeds of up to 40 knots, as well as cutting-edge navigation instruments.
It has been reported in Kenya that Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) intends to invest US$193 million to modernise four berths at the port of Mombasa. Our illustration here shows Mombasa’s second container terminal (www.africaports.co.za © ).
While the berths have not been identified it is understood that they currently handle containers and breakbulk general cargo.
Financing will come from commercial rated loans being offered by the European Investment Bank and French development agency AFD, according to Daniel Manduku, the managing director of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
The port of Mombasa recently opened a new container terminal which is being operated by a division of the Italian shipping company, MSC. The port is the main gateway port for neighbouring landlocked countries in the East Africa region – Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, southern Ethiopia and parts of eastern DRC.
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