VTS & Maritime Surveillance Issues & Solutions

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System Solutions

This section will provide some general information on the building blocks for VTS, VMS, Coastal and Offshore Surveillance solutions, which is provided for guidance only. Each geographic area / situation has its own unique issues and associated maritime risks that need to be analysed and assessed in order that a solution can be provided to reduce the impact of the identified risks. This section may be able to assist in that work but will not be able to replace a comprehensive audit of the specific operational requirements of any particular site and this section should therefore be considered and used accordingly.

Translating Operational Requirements into Technical Requirements

VTS, Coastal and Offshore Surveillance

Essentially, all Maritime Surveillance Systems have one primary purpose: the detection, tracking and monitoring of targets to produce a level of situational awareness for the relevant authority. For a VTS system, where the purpose is maritime safety, the main targets of interest will be commercial vessel traffic with a secondary interest in other vessels that are operating in the area, such as fishing vessels, leisure craft or other miscellaneous workboats. For a Coastal Surveillance System, where the main purpose is normally security, it is likely that the smaller vessels may be of more significant interest and that the commercial traffic will just need to be monitored. For a VTS, the interactions are primarily with those vessels that are likely to be users of the VTS owners facilities whereas for a Coastal Surveillance System the interactions are likely to be in the control of patrol assets and interdiction vessels. In offshore situations, the security and safety of platforms / assets a primary concern and interaction with all types of vessels in close proximity to the platforms is essential to avoid accidents.

This means that the two types of system, whilst common in the technology that they use, differ significantly in the operational application of that technology. It would also suggest that the first place to start when determining the requirements for a VTS system solution is the definition of what targets need to be detected and tracked by that system.

Further details are provided in the VTS & Coastal Solutions subsections.

Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS)

Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) are cooperative. In other words, the vessels that are being monitored cooperate with the Monitoring Centre by providing information about their current position. This involves the installation of a suitable Transponder on board each vessel. For Vessel Monitoring Systems, the size or type of the target vessels has no impact on the actual monitoring system, the key factor is the area over which tracking is required and the political will of those involved to fit equipment on board the vessels. In addition, the vessels must provide the necessary power and antenna sites for the installed transponder.

Further details are provided in the VMS Solutions subsections.

General Maritime Distress & Safety Systems (GMDSS)

Further details to be provided soon