Australian Maritime Safety Authority

International Framework

Navigating safely

Vessel Traffic Services are recognised internationally as a navigational safety measure through the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea 74/78 (SOLAS).

International basis for VTS

SOLAS Chapter V (Safety of Navigation) Regulation 12 states that:

  • “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.”

SOLAS also states that contracting Governments planning and implementing VTS shall, wherever possible, follow the guidelines developed by the IMO.

Guidelines for Vessel Traffic Services

The IMO Assembly adopted IMO Resolution A.857(20): Guidelines for Vessel Traffic Services.

The resolution recognises the safety and efficiency of maritime traffic and the protection of the marine environment will be improved if VTS are operated using internationally approved guidelines.

The Resolution describes:

  • the principles and general provisions for operating a VTS and for participating vessels
  • the roles and responsibilities of contracting governments, competent authorities and VTS Authorities.

SOLAS

SOLAS is implemented in Australia by the Navigation Act 2012.

Australia is therefore obliged to establish vessel traffic services where the volume of traffic or the degree of risk justifies it.

This means Australia must follow guidelines developed by the International Maritime Organization for vessel traffic services requiring VTS Authorities.

The Navigation Act 2012 establishes AMSA as the competent authority for VTS in Australia.

Read more about Vessel Traffic Services in Australia.

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