Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) – a service designed to improve vessel traffic safety and efficiency and to protect the environment – offers the potential to respond appropriately to traffic situations emerging in an area.
Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the focus on vessel traffic safety in EU member states and various regions worldwide. The primary purpose of the original port VTS was to prevent vessel collisions and groundings in the port and entrance areas. The attitude towards the scope of a VTS has been widened to give it a key role in environmental protection in the event of maritime accidents. VTS coverage is expanding to include coastal areas, shipping channels and sensitive offshore areas.
Implementation of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and the EU vessel information system ‘SafeSeaNet’ will supply the VTS with detailed data on vessels, such as their identification, movements and any dangerous cargoes. A notable trend among some VTS authorities is the desire to include port security and offshore surveillance in VTS duties.