2022 VTS Award - Winner
Carlo DiMeglio (AMSA) presented the VTS Award to Mike Minogue and Anurodh Prasad (Pilbara Ports) at the recent Pilbara Ports Authority’s 2022 Safe Ships-Safe Ports Forum.
In addition to managing commercial shipping for the ports of Dampier and Ashburton in Australia’s northwest, Dampier VTS plays a critical role in emergency response and supporting emergency services in the Pilbara West Region, often well outside the designated VTS area.
Dampier VTS monitors and responds to the recreational vessel fleet daily through response to radio test calls, calls for breakdown assistance and monitoring distress and urgency calls over an impressive sea area of 6,450 square nautical miles from North of Exmouth to Cape Lambert. They assist with the coordination of search and rescue operations on an average once or twice a month.
In 2021, this included coordinating 31 search and rescue operations, 29 of which involving recreational craft. Examples include:
- Late on the evening of 15 August 2021, a recreational vessel capsized 7 nm off Port of Ashburton with two persons overboard. On the advice of Fremantle Water Police, Dampier VTS activated their emergency response procedures resulting in the swift dispatch of the pilot vessel ‘Svitzer Seara’ to rescue two persons and tow the capsized boat to safety. The prompt actions of the VTS and ‘Svitzer Seara’ crew working together saved two people’s lives.
- On 15 September 2021, coordinating support for an injured solo sailor onboard the sailing vessel ‘Beaujolais’ that had suffered engine failure 10 nm North of Cape Preston and was unable to hoist sail. In the absence of Voluntary Sea Rescue, Dampier VTS coordinated two other recreational vessels to safety tow the sailing vessel back to Hampton Harbour.
- On 24 September 2021, Dampier VTS received a report of a man overboard 12 nm west of Dampier Port. The search and rescue operations continued for two days, coordinated by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Canberra and supported by Fremantle Water Police and Dampier VTS. The search and rescue operation involved seven vessels, five helicopters and one fixed-wing aircraft.
At all times Dampier VTS team demonstrated their professional and timely response to crises. This included coordinating the response and communications with allied services, including water police, tug operators, response assets such vessels, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft while continuing to manage shipping to ensure the safe and efficient movement of ships trading with the ports.