*Note: If map is zoomed in large scale (closer to earth surface) ship names appear in "HIDE" mode as well.
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A vessel traffic service (VTS) is a marine traffic monitoring system established by harbour or port authorities, similar to air traffic control for aircraft. Typical VTS systems use radar, closed-circuit television (CCTV), VHF radiotelephony and automatic identification system to keep track of vessel movements and provide navigational safety in a limited geographical area.
Vessel Traffic Services:
A service implemented by a competent authority, VTS is designed to improve the safety and efficiency of navigation, safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment. VTS is governed by SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 12 together with the Guidelines for Vessel Traffic Services [IMO Resolution A.857(20)] adopted by the International Maritime Organization on 27 November 1997.
The VTS traffic image is compiled and collected by means of advanced sensors such as radar, AIS, direction finding, CCTV and VHF or other co-operative systems and services. A modern VTS integrates all of the information into a single operator working environment for ease of use and in order to allow for effective traffic organization and communication.
The image shows a typical state-of-the-art integrated operator working position. In areas that are covered with VTS there are certain procedures for vessels to follow such as Area Procedures, Sector Areas, Arrival and Departure Reports, Approach Procedures, Pilotage Procedures and many more. Each of the above procedures are named with respect to the area that they serve. For example in Norway, Oslofjord the Area Procedures are called "OSL1" and "OSL3" and in Netherlands, Rotterdam, Maas Approach and Maas Entrance are called "RTM2" and "RTM6" respectively.
A VTS should always have a comprehensive traffic image, which means that all factors influencing the traffic as well as information about all participating vessels and their intentions should be readily available. By means of the traffic image, situations that are developing can be evaluated and responded upon. The data evaluation depends to a great extent on the quality of the data that is collected and the ability of the operator to combine this with an actual or developing situation. The data dissemination process exists of conveying the conclusions of the operator.