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.
US Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Georgia, crew members were recognized on 21 February for their response during the Golden Ray rescue of September 2019.
Rear-Admiral Eric Jones, Coast Guard 7th District commander, and Master Chief Petty Officer Devin Spencer, 7th District Command Master Chief, presented Air Medals to Lieutenant Robert Mineo and Lieutenant Jeb Slick, both helicopter pilots, and to Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Young and Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Newberg, both aviation survival technicians.
Jones and Spencer also presented Coast Guard Commendation Medals to Petty Officer 2nd Class Jared Blitz, an aviation maintenance technician, and Petty Officer Joseph Kelly, an avionics electrical technician.
Mineo, Slick, Young, and Newberg, Blitz, and Kelly were instrumental in rescuing crew members from the motor vessel Golden Ray, a 656-foot vehicle carrier that capsized in Brunswick, Georgia with 24 people aboard.
On 8 September 2019, Coast Guard Air Station Savannah aircrews responded to Golden Ray, one of the most significant cases of Air Station Savannah’s history.
Before daybreak, they hoisted five survivors to safety, including the ship’s Master and skilfully managed the safe withdrawal of the pilot boat captain to a Coast Guard Station Brunswick small boat waiting below.
On 19 & 20 November 2020, the Navigating a Changing Climate partners will organise a two-day conference as part of the 10th International Conference on Coastal and Port Engineering in Developing Countries (COPEDEC) to be held in The Philippines, hosted by The Philippine Ports Authority (see https://www.pianc-copedec2020.org/ )
Of this event, Navigating a Changing Climate at COPEDEC, partners will organise a two-day conference as part of the 10th International Conference on Coastal and Port Engineering in Developing Countries (COPEDEC) to be held in The Philippines, hosted by The Philippine Ports Authority.
Partners with PIANC are: IAPH, the International Harbour Masters’ Association, the International Maritime Pilots’ Association, IMarEST and others.
They set up Navigating a Changing Climate as a five-year ‘Marrakech Partnership’ initiative in 2015, in the lead up to the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In addition to the partner associations, more than 50 organisations have signed up as Navigating a Changing Climate ‘supporters’.
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