SAFEMED Project finances training courses for Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Operators/Managers from the Mediterranean region – Sep 03, 2007

Recognising the important contribution of VTS personnel towards maintaining the safety of life at sea and the protection of the environment, the European Union (EU) funded MEDA Regional Project “Euromed Cooperation on Maritime Safety and Prevention of Pollution from Ships – SAFEMED” is implementing a number of activities related to the safety of navigation through the development of traffic monitoring systems. In this context, the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) has recently organized two five-day Induction Courses on VTS, at South Tyneside College (STC), South Shields, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom, between the 3 and the 14 September 2007.

Eighteen government officials from the Mediterranean region have benefited from these training courses, including the excellent facilities available at STC, which is accredited for VTS Training up to the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) standards by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) of the United Kingdom. The participants, besides covering a number of topics related to IMO Resolution A.857 (20) and IALA V-103, also gained hands-on experience during the simulation exercises using state-of-the-art VTS simulation equipment.  The European Directive 2002/59/EC on Community Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System, was also covered.

The main objectives of the Training Course were for participants to acquire thorough and sufficient knowledge of the International (IMO & IALA) Guidelines and Recommendations for VTS; to be fully conversant with the basic principles of VTS, i.e. services that a VTS can provide to shipping and the resources to provide those services, and VTS communication procedures; to acquire knowledge on applicable legislation, recommendations and policy aspects at European level; and to utilize the acquired knowledge in their job as VTS Operators and/or Managers.

The participants were continuously monitored and assessed and at the end of the training sessions all of the participants received an attendance certificate from South Tyneside College confirming the participants’ successful completion of the Induction Course in VTS.

Other VTS related activities have already been implemented under the SAFEMED Project, including an Information Day on Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System (VTMIS) held in Trieste, Italy in October 2006 and conducting fact finding field missions to the beneficiaries during the second half of 2006.

The SAFEMED Project is being implemented by REMPEC in ten Euromed Mediterranean partners, namely Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, The Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.