Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) in Australia

Keeping vessels safe

Australia has obligations to domestic and international vessels within the region.

Vessel traffic services interact with and influence decisions to help avoid dangerous situations.

Key responsibilities

One of AMSA's key responsibilities is to establish and operate Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) under Australia’s obligations to the:

  • International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea 74/78 (SOLAS)
  • Navigation Act 2012.

Vessel Traffic Services are internationally recognised navigational safety measure through SOLAS.

SOLAS states:

  • Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) contribute to safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation and protection of the marine environment, adjacent shore areas, work sites and offshore installations from possible adverse effects of maritime traffic.
  • Governments may establish VTS when, in their opinion, the volume of traffic or the degree of risk justifies such services.

As VTS is an active aid to navigation, it has the capability to interact with and influence decision-making on vessels. For example, VTS might detect the development of close-quarter situations between vessels and alert vessels accordingly. This may mean instructing them to take action.

As the majority of maritime accidents are attributed to human factors, VTS offers a highly ‘visible’ safe guard.

Further information

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