VTS & Maritime Surveillance Issues & Solutions

Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS)

Vessel Monitoring Systems are near real time vessel tracking solutions. Originally VMS was introduced for monitoring fishing vessel activity using point to point data communication (often via satellite) to relay the GPS position of a tracked vessel to the Monitoring Centre. However, today’s web based AIS ship tracking services can also be considered to be VMS. In addition, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the IMO introduced Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) for all SOLAS vessels.

Fisheries VMS

A Fisheries Vessel Monitoring System is a tool for tracking licensed fishing vessels that have a VMS transponder on board. The transponder will transmit a minimum of its ID, its location and the time of validity for the report. In addition, it may also report the course and speed of the vessel. As fishing vessels do not move at high speed, a VMS transponder will typically report its location every one or two hours but as the operational range of fishing vessels is typically beyond the horizon, shore based sensors often lack the range capability to monitor an entire voyage. Satellite data communication is therefore the normal transmission medium for fishing vessel position reports. However, commercial satellite services charge for airtime and therefore a cost analysis is necessary to ensure the best value is achieved as charging rates may be based upon the volume of data bandwidth used. The following are candidate satellite communication services:
  • Inmarsat-C
  • IsatM2M
  • Iridium
  • Orbcomm

Long Range Identification & Tracking

Long Range Identification and Tracking was first discussed by the IMO, following the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York in September 2001, as a measure to improve maritime security. It was established as a requirement for all SOLAS vessels in MAy 2006 through an amendment to Chapter V of the SOLAS regulations.

Satellite AIS