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  • 2016 July 22 12:20

    Hong Kong Marine Department upgrades Vessel Traffic Services system

    The Marine Department (MD) held a press briefing to introduce  the  newly  upgraded  third  generation  Vessel  Traffic  Services  (VTS)  system  and  the   reform work of the department.  The  newly  upgraded  third  generation  VTS  system  is  built  for  the  practical   situation of Hong Kong as a busy port.

    It meets the evolving international operational  standards and reinforces  Hong Kong’s position as a world- class shipping hub port and  an international maritime centre. Located  at  the  Vessel  Traffic  Centre  (VTC)  of  the  Hong  Kong -Macau  Ferry   Terminal, the VTS system of the MD operates round the clock throughout the year. The  VTS  system  has  been  established  in  accordance  with  international  requirements.  It   distributes  navigational  information  and  advice  to  vessels  through  the  very  high   frequency radio network to facilitate safe arrivals and departures.

    The third generation VTS sys tem complies with the requirements and operational  standards of the International Maritime Organization and the International Association  of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities. It has gradually come into  operation since March this year. Thirteen radars are employed in the system to provide  radar  surveillance  coverage  of  the  Hong  Kong  navigable  waters. 

    Compared  to  the   previous  generation  which  could  automatically  track  up  to  5  000  marine  targets,  the   new generation VTS system can automatically track up to 10 000 marine targets at any  one time and is expected to meet the operational needs up to 2030. The system’s ability  to detect vessels under inclement weather is also enhanced. These enhancements allow  the  MD  to  monitor  and  regulate  marine  traffic  more  effectively.  The  system  also   provides  vessel  information  to  port  users,  government  organisations  and  the  general   public. 

    The Director of Marine, Ms Maisie Cheng, said at the press briefing that, under the  supervision of the Steering Committee  on Systemic Reform of the Marine Department  chaired  by  the  Secretary  for  Transport  and  Housing,  the  MD  has  been  undertaking   reforms  since  2013.  The  MD  has  implemented  a  series  of  improvement  measures  to   enhance  marine  safety.  These  include  enhancing  surve y  of  local  vessels,  enhancing   look- out duties by crew on vessels and strengthening the training and examination of  coxswains.

    The MD’s internal governance and work culture are also improving. Looking  ahead,  the  MD  will  continue  to  implement  various  improvement  measures  to  enhance  marine  safety  and  introduce  more  fundamental  reform  to  the   regulatory  regime  of  local  vessels.  These  include  reviewing  the  regulatory  regime  of   local  pleasure  vessels,  introducing  legislation  to  control  boating  while  under  the   inf luence  of  alcohol  and  drugs,  and  reviewing  the  coxswain  licensing  system.  On   internal  governance,  the  MD  will  conduct  a  grade  structure  review  for  its  two  major   professional  grades,  i.e.  Marine  Officers  and  Surveyors  of  Ships,  to  offer  long- term  solutions to its manpower and succession problems.


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