Life as a Marine Port Controller

Life as a Marine Port Controller

"A Marine Port Controller, better known as a Vessel Traffic Services Operator (VTSO), shall coordinate the movement of all vessels in the port area and ensure a safe passage without the risk of collision with other vessels or shore installations."

Vessel Traffic Services Operators are recognised internationally a vital element for the safe and efficient movement of vessels in and around ports.

 Their tasks include the following:

Communicating effectively – The VTS Operator shall communicate with various people including the ship’s master, port/terminal operators, and as and when required. They shall receive information from Vessels regarding its intended movements and also provide information about items such as weather and tidal conditions, the movement of other vessels in the area, and berthing instructions.

Handling emergency situations – the port control centre shall be the hub of communication for any existing or potential emergency situation that could present itself: (according to published regulations). The reliability and continuity of communications from vessels in the area affects the VTS centre’s ability to provide clear and accurate information.

 Accident prevention depends on:

  1. How well the VTS centre can respond to a developing unsafe situation 
  2. The VTS centre’s ability to give warnings in advance about dangerous situations.

VTS centres interact and communicate with vessel masters and pilots to give them timely and important information which in turn supports the decision-making process on board the vessel.

The VTS Operator shall be a good communicator with excellent verbal and written communications skills in English.

Vessel Traffic Services Operators contribute to the safety of life at sea, through effective two-way communications on frequency.