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VTS in The Age of Digital Information

Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) are intended to provide enhanced safety of navigation and increase the efficiency of port operations. Modern VTS possess highly accurate and reliable information about all operations within the port and approaches to the port.

This provides the VTS operator with full maritime domain awareness. The first VTS systems were installed at the beginning of the 1940s and have come a long way from single standalone coastal radar stations to becoming complex distributed systems, connecting large amounts of sensors and sub-systems. These changes were driven not by technology itself, but by a number of various challenges at that time.

Maritime shipping supports approximately 90 percent of global trade.

Therefore, this directly affects shipping traffic. An international study showed that shipping traffic has quadrupled in the past 20 years. The inevitable result of this significant growth would be an increasing number of maritime accidents, increased impact on the environment and an increased volume of constant demands to improve existing technologies in order to provide safe and efficient berth-to-berth navigation.

VTS can be considered as one of the key factors in solving these challenges. The maritime administrations of different countries take action to improve the safety of shipping by increasing the area of VTS responsibility or establishing ‘Coastal VTS Systems’, including the voluntary use of VTS beyond territorial waters. 

Dmitry Rostopshin, Director of the Ship Traffic Control and Management Solutions, Transas Marine International