Vessel Traffic Controller Officer
What’s it like working as a Vessel Traffic Controller/Operator?
A Vessel Traffic Controller/Operator is responsible for the coordination of ships within the port or harbor. They work to avoid collisions or incidents by managing movements from a port control center. To help them meet this goal, Vessel Traffic Controllers/Operators are well versed in the use of computerized Vessel Traffic Management systems. Working shifts to cover the 24-hour, seven days a week demands of the role, Vessel Traffic Controllers/Operators may also offer traffic information and arrange for launches to take Pilots out to ships.
What kind of work can I do?
The size of the port, and consequently the number of ship movements have a bearing on the number of tasks expected of the Vessel Traffic Controller/Operator. However, Vessel Traffic Controllers/Operators will generally operate radar and radio equipment, make use of nautical charts to record a ship’s current position, plot courses, and forecast traffic flows. Communication is key to successful Vessel Traffic Control, and operators will be in contact with the ship’s Master, the national Coast Guard agency, shipping agents, port/terminal operators, and meteorological offices. The Vessel Traffic Controller/Operator must also be able to handle emergency situations as the port control center is the communication hub in any emergency situation. Where can I work? Vessel Traffic Controllers/Operators are generally employed directly by port authorities. Most openings request knowledge of port operations to include approaches, channel and port facilities, and shipboard experience is often desirable. However, while in the past VTS operators have in the main been made up of ex-seafarers, increasing demand and a lack of seafarers to take on these roles, has opened up this career to candidates with little or no maritime experience. Vessel Traffic Controllers/Operators keep the busy channels and entrances to the world’s ports free of incidents through good planning and communication.
How big is this sector?
However, while in the past VTS operators have in the main been made up of ex-seafarers, increasing demand and a lack of seafarers to take on these roles, has opened up this career to candidates with little or no maritime experience.