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About the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS)

The Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) is an international standardised service operated by the Norwegian Coastal Administration in Norway to ensure safe passage, efficient navigation and protection of the environment in the coastal zone.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration has five VTS centres that provide information and organise and monitor maritime traffic in defined VTS areas along the coast. The VTS centres are a risk-reducing measure aimed at preventing unwanted traffic situations arising in defined risk areas with large volumes of traffic and where many vessels are carrying hazardous and/or noxious cargos.

The Norwegian VTS is based on national regulations, international regulations from the United Nations International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and standards from the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).

Facts about VTS

  • The VTS service helps to simplify the bridge crew's tasks and reduces the likelihood of errors, misjudgments and deliberate violations of regulations.
  • The VTS centres contribute to the efficient implementation and implementation of rescue operations and measures against acute pollution in the event of accidents.

Examples of work:

  • Giving clearance to vessels before entering the VTS area and before leaving the anchorage position or port.
  • Providing information on and organising maritime traffic.
  • Identifying anomalies in maritime traffic and implementing safety and emergency measures to prevent unwanted traffic situations or accidents.
  • Imposing a requirement on vessels that are in danger or that pose a threat to maritime safety, to implement the necessary measures.
  • Part of the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s frontline emergency response to acute pollution.

Sources of information

  • The VTS centres perform their tasks on the basis of various sources of information, including radar sensors.
  • The Norwegian Coastal Administration’s AIS network and data from the monitoring and information system SafeSeaNet Norway (SSNN) make it possible to monitor maritime traffic along the coast, including areas outside the range of radar.
  • The VTS centres provide information services outside their normal area of activity, where possible.

Monitoring at-risk traffic

  • The Norwegian Coastal Administration has a focus on the transport of hazardous and noxious substances, and large vessels. This traffic mainly includes oil shipments from north-western Russia, traffic to and from the Baltic Sea area, and traffic in connection with commercial activity, in particular the shipment of crude oil and oi-related products.

Statistics and documentation

  • Ship movements registered in Norwegian waters are entered in databases for later use in documentation and statistics.
  • The Norwegian Coastal Administration cooperates and exchanges information with other public agencies, such as the Norwegian Armed Forces, Norwegian Customs, the police and the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

VTS centres

Horten VTS centre

Horten VTS centre is located in the port of Horten. It was established in 1999 and is responsible for monitoring and orginazing vessel traffic in the waters from Færder and into Oslo.

Brevik VTS centre

Brevik VTS centre is located at Brevik in Porsgrunn municipality. It covers the approaches into the extensive industrial area in Grenland, where gas tankers and other vessels with hazardous cargo account for much of the vessel traffic. The centre also monitors and organize the vessel traffic in the waters between Florø and Måløy. Established in 1978, this is the oldest VTS centre in Norway.

Kvitsøy VTS centre

Kvitsøy VTS centre was established in 2003 and is located in Kvitsøy municipality in Rogaland. It covers the area from Bømlafjord in the north to the shoal at Jæren in the south. Its main task is to monitor and organize vessel traffic relating to shipments from the gas terminal at Kårstø. The centre also monitors and organize the general coastal traffic from Bømlafjord to Jæren.

Fedje VTS centre

Fedje VTS centre is located in the island municipality of Fedje in North Hordaland. It was established in 1992 to primarily monitor and organize the traffic with oil tankers to and from the Sture and Mongstad terminals. Later the responsibility of the centre has expanded to include the monitoring and managing of the vessel traffic to and from Bergen. Fedje VTS centre covers the area from Sognesjøen in the north to the waters at Marstein in the south, and has a border to the Port of Bergen in the east and to Grimstadfjord at Haakonsvern Naval Base.

Vardø VTS centre

Vardø VTS centre, also known as NOR VTS, is located at Vardø in Troms and Finnmark, and was established in 2007. The centre monitors tankers and other risk vessels that follow the routing measures established outside the Norwegian coast. The centre is also responsible for monitoring and organizing the vessel traffic around the gas terminal on Melkøya, and also organizes the anchorage of vessels in the waters at Narvik.



Arve Dimmen /
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