Vessel Traffic Services (VTS)

TasPorts operates as a Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Provider, as certified by AMSA as the Competent Authority under the Navigation Act 2012 and Marine Order 64 (Vessel Traffic Services) 2022.

The TasPorts VTS Centre is operated 24/7 and has AIS and VHF coverage of the VTS Areas.

The objectives of the TasPorts VTS Provider are:
  • Assist with the safe and efficient vessel movements and the safety, security and resilience of Tasmania’s coastal waterways
  • Enhance navigational safety by interacting with shipping to provide information on potential traffic conflicts and other navigational safety information
  • Minimise the risk of maritime incidents, consequential ship-sourced pollution and damage to the marine environment
  • Maintain an effective VTS quality management system
  • Ensure compliance with relevant statutory and regulatory requirements
  • Endeavour at all times to maximise stakeholder satisfaction with services provided
  • Provide an ability to respond quickly in the event of any safety or pollution incident
Purpose of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS)

Purpose of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS)

The purpose of vessel traffic services (VTS) is to contribute to the safety of life at sea, improve the safety and efficiency of navigation, and support the protection of the environment within a VTS area by mitigating the development of unsafe situations through:

  • providing timely and relevant information on factors that may influence ship movements and assist onboard decision-making. This may include:
    • position, identity, intention, and movements of ships;
    • maritime safety information;
    • limitations of ships in the VTS area that may impose restrictions on the navigation of other ships (e.g. maneuverability), or any other potential hindrances;
    • other information such as reporting formalities and International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) details; and
    • support for, and cooperation with, allied services.
  • monitoring and managing ship traffic to ensure the safety and efficiency of ship movements. This may include:
    • planning ship movements in advance;
    • organising ships underway;
    • organising space allocation;
    • establishing a system of traffic clearances;
    • establishing a system of voyage or passage plans;
    • providing route advice; and
    • ensuring compliance with, and enforcement of, regulatory provisions for which they are empowered.
  • responding to developing unsafe situations, which may include:
    • a ship unsure of its route or position;
    • a ship deviating from the route;
    • a ship requiring guidance to an anchoring position;
    • a ship that has defects or deficiencies, such as navigation or maneuvering equipment failure;
    • a ship at risk of grounding or collision; and
    • emergency response or support for emergency services.
  • VTS areas in Tasmania
Bell Bay VTS AreaDevonport VTS AreaBurnie VTS Area
Port Latta VTS AreaStrahan VTS AreaStanley VTS Area
Hobart VTS AreaGrassy VTS AreaColes Bay VTS Area
Lady Baron VTS Area

A Participating Vessel means all vessels of LOA 35m and greater operating in a TasPorts VTS Area. These vessels are required to participate in the Vessel Traffic Service.

All participating vessels within TasPorts VTS areas are to report to VTS for the following circumstances:

  • Submit an online Movement Request through ‘PortMate’ at least 72hrs prior to planned arrival and
  • Report to VTS via VHF:
    • When entering or departing a VTS Area
    • When anchoring or heaving anchor within a VTS Area
    • If ‘Not Under Command’ or ‘Restricted in Ability to Manoeuvre’ within a VTS Area
    • If involved in collision, grounding or close quarters situation
    • When requesting clearance to enter port limits (for pilot exempt vessels)
    • When entering port limits (for piloted vessels)
    • One hour prior to a planned departure from a berth (for traffic information and confirmation of departure)
    • Within five minute of departing a berth (last line), to request clearance to proceed
    • When commencing and completing bunker operations
    • When commencing and completing work that requires a work permit
    • When port safety or the environment may be compromised or the Master considers a report is warranted

All participating vessels are to report to VTS as per above and maintain a listening watch at all times whilst in a VTS Area on the VHF channel detailed below.


Phone: 1300 366 742

VTS Area callsigns, VTS VHF Channels and pilot/towage working channels are listed below.

Port and VTS areas

VTS Callsign

VTS Channel

Pilotage/towage working VHF Channel

Bell Bay VTS Area, Launceston, Bell Bay, Inspection Head

Bell Bay VTS

14, 16


Devonport VTS Area, Devonport

Devonport VTS

14, 16


Burnie VTS Area, Burnie

Burnie VTS

14, 16


Port Latta VTS Area, Port Latta

Port Latta VTS

14, 16


Stanley VTS Area, Stanley

Stanley VTS

14, 16


Grassy VTS Area, Grassy, King Island

Grassy VTS

14, 16


Strahan VTS Area, Strahan

Strahan VTS

12, 16


Hobart VTS Area, Hobart, Port Arthur, Port Huon, D'Entrecasteaux channel

Hobart VTS

12, 16


Coles Bay VTS Area

Coles Bay VTS

12, 16


Lady Baron VTS Area

Lady Baron VTS

14, 16


TasPorts VTS Centre have access to hydrological and meteorological data to maintain comprehensive situational awareness of the VTS areas. TasPorts hydrological subsystem consists of sensors and readouts that provide data on the following:

  • Wind speed and direction
  • Tidal current speed and direction
  • Tide height

The TasPorts VTS Centre will continuously monitor environmental information and provide advice on existing conditions to vessel masters and pilots upon request. Any potential adverse weather events that could impact on the safe working of a port will be reported to masters and pilots as appropriate.

Section 214 of the Navigation Act 2012 (Liability of master or owner under vessel traffic service arrangements) states that:

  1. The master of a vessel is not relieved from responsibility for the conduct and navigation of the vessel merely because the vessel is subject to vessel traffic service arrangements.
  2. A requirement under a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory that vessel traffic service arrangements be complied with does not affect the liability of the owner or master of a vessel that complies with such arrangements for:
    1. loss or damage caused by the vessel; or
    2. loss or damage caused by a fault of the navigation of the vessel

Obligations for Masters:

  1. For paragraph 213(2)(e) of the Navigation Act 2012, the Master of a vessel must, if requested by a VTS provider, give a report or information about the vessel's identity or passage, including a report or information on any of the following matters:
    1. the vessel's identity, position and condition;
    2. the vessel's course and speed;
    3. the vessel's attributes, cargo and communication methods;
    4. the vessel's route before entering the VTS area, and the time and location of its entry into the VTS area;
    5. the vessel's route or intended route after leaving the VTS area;
    6. the time and location, or intended time and location, of leaving the VTS area;
    7. the vessel's last and next ports of call; or
    8. conditions of the VTS area relevant to the safety of shipping or pollution of the environment.
    9. Note: Section 215 of the Navigation Act makes it an offence not to comply with a request under this subsection to give a report or information to a VTS provider.

  2. A person commits an offence if;
    1. the person is the Master of a vessel;
    2. the person receives an instruction from a VTS provider for the movement of the vessel; and
    3. the person does not obey the instruction.
    4. Penalty: 50 penalty units.

  3. An offence against subsection (2) is a strict liability offence.
  4. A person is liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes subsection (2).
  5. Civil penalty: 50 penalty units.

    Note: Part 6 of the Navigation Act deals with vessel traffic services and other matters. Section 212 of the Act applies Part 6 to all vessels, including regulated Australian vessels, foreign vessels, domestic commercial vessels and recreational vessels.