New shore centre – Tallinn VTS
“Tallin VTS wanted to join Sea Traffic Management (STM) as soon as possible. The prerequisite for vessel ensuring traffic safety and providing vessel traffic services is to know vessels’ intentions and their exact sailing plans and this is what the STM route and data exchange services do.“ – Are Piel, Head of VTS department, Estonian Maritime Administration
“There are three major landmarks in the history of VTS,” says Anders Johannesson, Swedish Maritime Administration, coordinator of the validation of VTS services in the STM Validation project and explains further, “Radar is telling us that something is coming. AIS is telling us who is coming. And STM will tell us the intentions of the ships coming towards us, which will take VTS to a totally new level.”
The first five shore centres that have been STM-enabled are Gothenburg, Sweden, the Danish national surveillance centre, the VTS in Horten and Kvitsöy, Norway and VTS Tarifa in Spain overlooking traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar. Saab, Navicon, Kongsberg and Wärtsilä are the four suppliers of STM-enabled systems.
The Estonian centre is the first shore centre outside EU-funded projects. Anders Johannesson comments, “Since STM will affect VTS radically, I am not surprised to see far-sighted managers taking steps to implement STM already today”.
In Tallinn, Wärtsilä installed a stand-alone system for the STM functions. A big screen displays the STM-enabled system in the VTS centre and gives a good overview of traffic situations to all operators on the shift.
Are Piel, Head of VTS Department, Estonian Maritime Administration shares his thoughts on the future of VTS: “I foresee the route exchange system as an absolutely new level in ensuring vessel traffic safety. The prerequisite for ensuring vessel traffic safety and providing vessel traffic services is to know vessels’ intentions and their exact sailing plans, and this is what the STM route and data exchange services do. If we can predict possible conflicts between vessels early enough, it is much easier to rearrange traffic safely and smoothly. It also allows providing more accurate time of arrival thus implement just in time concept which reduces sailing expenses.” He finishes “For the implementation of unmanned vessels in future, STM-enabled systems is a must to have to provide grounds for smooth and safe vessel traffic.”