VTS 2008 – A global approach: 11th IALA VTS symposium



Mahesh Alimchandani, Technical Coordination Manager, International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA)


Countdown to the 11th VTS Symposium in Bergen, Norway

In co-operation with Norwegian Coastal Administration, IALA will conduct the 11th VTS Symposium from 4 to 8 August, 2008 in the historic city of Bergen on the Norwegian southwest coast. The venue – Grieg Hall – is the home of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the oldest orchestral institutions in the world.

A global theme

Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs will welcome delegates to Norway at the symposium opening. The theme for the symposium is VTS 2008 – A Global Approach. A line up of international speakers will present information on the latest developments in all aspects of Vessel Traffic Services. Speakers from all continents have been invited to ensure global representation. Specifically, there will be ten technical sessions on the following topics:

VTS and its role in Global Traffic Monitoring

This opening session will discuss the expanding role of VTS ‘beyond the radar horizon, using Long Range Identification and Tracking, forward planning of vessel movements and the emergence of regional and international traffic management regimes.

On-going legal issues

This session will address contemporary issues such as the legal instruments required to operate VTS in international waters and the role and legal obligations of a VTS entering into regional or international agreements. The implications of VTS becoming an enforcement tool and the inclusion of VTS in the IMO General Provisions on Ships Routeing will also be discussed.

Recruitment and professional competency

Discussing perhaps the most important element in VTS, the human element, this session will address the recruitment and training of VTS Operators, the professional competencies required and stakeholder expectations. There will be presentations on training programmes, human factors and the use of simulators in VTS training.

VTS and e-navigation

The emerging concept of e-navigation will have an impact on VTS and the interaction between VTS and its users. Delegates will learn about the latest technological advances in sensors, communications, AIS and displays. This session will also address enhanced decision making, new skills required by VTS Operators, expanding the surveillance role of VTS, and data fusion.

Innovations and improvements in VTS operations

This session will explore the special applications of VTS, such as inland waterway management, high speed craft, emergency management and port security. Innovative application of VTS sensors and data for risk management and traffic planning will be discussed. The session will also address the planning and implementation of VTS, effectiveness and quality, risk based decision making, and the integration of marine risk simulation in VTS operations.

VTS – an Arctic perspective

The symposium will conclude with a thought-provoking session on the growing importance of Arctic shipping routes and the unique challenges associated with navigating in the region. VTS’s contribution to safety, security and protection of the Arctic environment will be addressed.

Technical tour to Fedje VTS

On the fourth day of the symposium, at the end of the technical sessions, delegates will tour Fedje VTS. The VTS is located on a small island community with a population of 600, a few hours north of Bergen. In 1992, it was established with the important task of monitoring maritime traffic in and out of the oil facilities Hydro Sture and Statoil Mongstad. Every year, approximately 30,000 vessels are monitored and registered by Fedje VTS. Norwegian VTS concept, practices and technical monitoring systems will be presented during the technical tour.

Social programme

A lively social programme has been planned for delegates, exhibitors and accompanying guests during their stay in Bergen, with Norwegian culture, history and cuisine on display. While delegates attend the technical sessions, accompanying persons can enjoy the sights and sounds of Bergen by participating in guided sightseeing tours. 

Among the social events planned is an evening at the historical restaurant Fløien. This is one of the city’s landmarks, located atop of one of Bergen’s surrounding mountains, in a picturesque area, overlooking the city of Bergen and the city harbour.

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