VTS for the Gulf of Kachchh
An integrated VTS for the ports located in the gulf of kachchh has been planned and is being implemented at an estimated cost of Rs. 165 crore under the aegis of the directorate General of Lightships and lighthouses. Kandla Port Trust and Gujarat Maritime Board are the other partners in this project.
The scheme envisages establishment of 9 Radar Stations to track targets. The other sensors included are AIS, RDF, Meteorological and Hydrological. The Master Control Centre will be located at Kandla and will include 6 Port Monitor Stations spread along the coast of the Gulf of Kachchh.
A key plan indicating the locations of the Master Control Centre, Radars and Port Monitor Stations, is given below:-
The wide utilization of Radars during World War II opened a new vista for effective traffic management in bad visibility conditions. With a view to ensure minimization of accident, protection of environment and optimum utilization of ports, a co-coordinated
approach, termed as Vessel Traffic Service (VTD), was adopted by IMO in November, 1985. This was also considered by International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), which resulted in a VTS Manual accepted on a worldwide basis.
In November 1997, IMO revised the guidelines and criteria or VTS as well as guidelines on recruitment, qualifications and training of VTS operation.
The service provided by a VTS authority can be broadly divided in three categories
i) Information Service
ii)Navigational Assistance Service and
iii)Traffic organization service
i) Information Service
VTS authority ensures timely availability of essential information concerning the area and the traffic situations to the vessels.
ii) Navigational Assistance Service
By providing navigational information such as course and speed, position relative to fairway axis and locations of surrounding traffic, VTS assists in the navigational decision making process on board.
iii) Traffic Organization Service
Within the defined area, VTS monitors all the traffic and assists in the forward planning of movements and also prevent the development of dangerous situations.
According to the prescribed guidelines, VTS should have the capability to interact with the traffic and to respond to traffic situations developing in the VTS area. An information service is therefore obligatory and needs to be supplemented by one or both the other services enumerated above. The VTS operator also plays and important role as he has access to a VTS traffic image and assists in the dissemination of the advisories arising out of the assessment of the traffic image.
The information service may include various types of inputs such as Radar, Automatic Identification System (AIS), VHF Radio Telephones and Meteorological and Hydrological sensors. It is incumbent on the VTS authority to provide for such equipments as are essentially needed for providing the service standards envisaged.
It is needless to emphasize that the quality of operation for a VTS is entirely dependent on the availability of quality operators. They have to analyse the various data projected in the VTS traffic image, take correct decisions and disseminate them accurately within the right time frame. It is therefore, the responsibility of the VTS authority to ensure sufficient manning and also to see that adequately trained personnel are available to undertake the commitments involved.