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VTS services

The Norwegian Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) offers three types of services based on national regulations and international recommendations:

Information Service (INS)

This service provides important and timely information to support the nautical decision-making processes on board. A vessel can request information, and the VTS centre can provide unsolicited information and ask the vessel questions if something is unclear. Such information could include:

  • Information on the traffic situation, such as the ship's position, identity and destination
  • Meteorological and hydrographic information
  • Relevant limitations or activities in the fairway
  • Guidelines for mandatory reporting
  • VHF channels that are used in the VTS area

Navigation Assistance Service (NAS)

Navigation assistance is established either on request from a vessel, or when the VTS operator observes irregular navigation and the VTS operator deems it necessary to intervene. 

Examples of navigation assistance situations:

  • Difficult meteorological conditions
  • Faulty or defective equipment on board
  • Vessels that deviate from a sailing plan
  • Assistance en route to an anchorage site or pilot embarkation buoy/area.
  • Risk of running aground or collision
  • Vessel that is uncertain of its position, or not able to determine its position

The VTS Centre can provide:

  • Bearing and distance to nearby hazards or landmarks
  • Recommend a course to the next waypoint
  • Position in relation to the fairway axis, navigation functions, and/or waypoints
  • Provide support and information on the current traffic situation to the crew on the bridge

Traffic Organisation (TOS)

Traffic organisation contributes to safe and efficient traffic diversion, and aims to prevent excessive traffic density or dangerous situations in maritime traffic centre areas.

Traffic organisation and planning is particularly important when traffic density is high. Vessels of a certain size must ask the VTS for clearance before sailing or anchorage in VTS areas, and must also report to the relevant VTS centre before entering a VTS area or before departure from port or anchorage.

As an example, the Maritime Traffic Regulations regulate meeting and passing bans, and granting a vessel clearance to sail into a VTS area. Clearance can be granted without conditions, but special conditions can also be stipulated through:

  • Use of special fairways
  • Sailing in a specific order in relation to other traffic
  • Clearance can be withheld when there is a valid reason for doing so



Malin Towe Ulrika Dreijer /
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