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How to become a VTS authority

An entity must apply to be authorised to provide a vessel traffic service.

To become a VTS authority an entity must apply to be authorised under the Navigation Act.  

An audit process is completed to assess the extent they meet the authorisation criteria: 

  • There needs to be a vessel traffic service for the VTS area.
  • The applicant can meet the responsibilities of a VTS authority outlined in IMO Resolution A.857(20) (Guidelines for Vessel Traffic Services).

A VTS authority will be issued with an instrument of authority for a period of five years, as long as they continue to meet the authorisation requirements.

1. Complete the pre-audit supporting documents

The pre-audit compliance matrix documents assist entities to assess and monitor the delivery of their operations with regards to international obligations, the Navigation Act 2012, IALA standards, recommendations and guidelines, as well as recognised ‘international good practice’. 

The following supporting documents must be completed and submitted as part of the application.

Application for Authorisation to provide a vessel traffic service for a VTS area (form AMSA 444)

  • Supporting Statement as per Section 8(3) of Marine Order 64 (Vessel Traffic Services) (form AMSA 1574) 
  • Conformance with IMO Resolution A.857(20) Guidelines For Vessel Traffic Services (form AMSA 1573)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.1 – Implementation (form AMSA 1566)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.2 – Operations (form AMSA 1567)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.3 - Data and information management (form AMSA1568)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.4 – Communications (form AMSA1569)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.5 – Technologies (form AMSA1570)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1050 - Training and Certification (form AMSA1571)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1070 - Information Services (form AMSA 1572)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1010 - Marine AtoN Planning and Service Requirements (form AMSA 1565)

For the latest copy of the supporting documents, please contact us: vts@amsa.gov.au

Completing the pre-audit supporting documents assists entities ensure their operations comply with the Navigation Act 2012, IMO guidance and IALA standards. 

2. Apply to AMSA to become a VTS authority

Submit the application form and supporting documentation to us.

Appointment of a vessel traffic services authority application form (AMSA445) 

3. Date of audit is set between both parties

An agreed date for the audit will be set between both parties.

We will advise of estimated costs for services associated with processing an application and conducting the compliance audit. Cost recovery will be in accordance with Australian Maritime Safety Authority Fees Determination 2015

4. On-site audit conducted

An on-site audit will be conducted to assess through objective evidence (eg provided in the form of online and hard-copy system documentation, procedures, meeting minutes, audit reports etc) that the applicant can meet the responsibilities of a VTS authority. 

A closing meeting to review the audit findings will be conducted on-site following the audit.

An audit report will be prepared. A corrective action plan may be developed to allow the entity to address any minor non-conformances or observations from the audit. 

5. Recommendation to issue Instrument of Authority

If the audit is passed a recommendation will be made to renew the instrument of authority to provide a VTS under the provisions of Marine Order 64.

AMSA may conduct an audit of a VTS authority at any time to ensure that the authority continues to comply with the conditions of its authorisation.

Typically, an interim audit is undertaken about half way through the five year term of authorisation. 

1. VTS authority will be notified that an interim audit is due

We will notify the VTS authority that an interim audit is to be undertaken. A date for the audit will be agreed between both parties.

An estimation of costs for services associated with processing an application and conducting the compliance audit will be provided to the VTS Authority. Cost recovery will be in accordance with Australian Maritime Safety Authority Fees Determination 2015.

Where new or revised IALA standards, recommendations and guidelines have come into effect since the initial appointment, we may forward relevant pre-audit compliance matrix documents to ensure the VTS Authority can met the requirements.

2. On-site audit conducted

An on-site audit will be conducted to assess through objective evidence (e.g. provided in the form of online and hard-copy system documentation, procedures, meeting minutes, audit reports etc.) that the applicant can meet the responsibilities of a VTS authority.

A closing meeting to review the audit findings will be conducted on-site following the audit.

An audit report will be prepared. A corrective action plan may be developed to allow the entity to address any areas of minor non-conformances and observations from the audit. 

IMPORTANT - The VTS Authority must apply at least 90 days before the expiry of the instrument

We will renew the authorisation if the entity continues to comply with the criteria for authorisation to provide a vessel traffic service.

A full application will be required as new or revised IALA recommendations and guidelines may have come into effect since the initial appointment.

1. Complete the pre-audit supporting documents

The pre-audit compliance matrix documents assist entities to assess and monitor the delivery of their operations with regard to international obligations, the Navigation Act 2012, IALA standards, recommendations and guidelines, as well as, recognised ‘international good practice’. 

The following supporting documents must be completed and submitted as part of the application.

Application for authorisation to provide a vessel traffic service for a VTS area (Form AMSA 444)

  • Supporting Statement as per Section 8(3) of Marine Order 64 (Vessel Traffic Services) (Form AMSA 1574)
  • Conformance with IMO Resolution A.857(20) Guidelines For Vessel Traffic Services (Form AMSA 1573)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.1 – Implementation (Form AMSA 1566)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.2 – Operations (Form AMSA 1567)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.3 - Data and information management (Form AMSA 1568)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.4 – Communications (Form AMSA 1569)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1040 - VTS - Annex 1.5 – Technologies (Form AMSA 1570)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1050 - Training and Certification (Form AMSA 1571
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1070 - Information Services (Form AMSA 1572)
  • Conformance with IALA Standard 1010 - Marine AtoN Planning and Service Requirements (Form AMSA 1565)

For the latest copy of the supporting documents, please contact us at vts@amsa.gov.au. Completing the pre-audit supporting documents assists entities ensure their operations comply with the Navigation Act 2012, IMO guidance and IALA standards.

2. Apply to AMSA to renew authorisation

Submit the application form and supporting documentation to AMSA. 

Authorisation to provide a vessel traffic service for a VTS area (form AMSA 444)

3. Date of audit is set between both parties

An agreed date for the audit will be set between both parties.

We will advise of estimated costs for services associated with processing an application and conducting the compliance audit. Cost recovery will be in accordance with Australian Maritime Safety Authority Fees Determination 2015

4. On-site audit conducted

An on-site audit will be conducted to assess through objective evidence (eg provided in the form of online and hard-copy system documentation, procedures, meeting minutes, audit reports etc) that the applicant can meet the responsibilities of a VTS authority.

A closing meeting to review the audit findings will be conducted on-site following the audit.

An audit report will be prepared. A corrective action plan may be developed to allow the entity to address any minor non-conformances or observations from the audit. 

5. Recommendation to issue Instrument of Authority

If the audit is passed a recommendation will be made to renew the instrument of authority to provide a VTS under the provisions of Marine Order 64.

A VTS authority may on their own initiative apply to have amendments made to their instrument of authority.  For example:

  • to change the boundaries of the VTS area
  • to change the description of the VTS services to be provided
  • to change details in the instrument of authority that are no longer accurate, or
  • to include any other details it considers necessary.

We may also at any time amend an instrument of authority to change details or impose further conditions on the VTS authority as required. A formal 90 day notification process between the VTS authority and State/Territory agency responsible for maritime safety will occur if we need to amend the instrument.

Assessment of the amendments

We will assess the proposed amendments against the following criteria:

  • The amendment is consistent with the objective of improving the safety and efficiency of the vessel traffic and protecting the environment; and
  • The applicant can continue to meet the responsibilities of a VTS authority mentioned in IMO Resolution A.857(20) Guidelines for Vessel Traffic Services when operating the vessel traffic service.

Last updated: 

Monday 2 December 2019