Malta updates its Maritime Security System
A $5.33m Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS) and Digital CCTV Security Infrastructure project were formally declared operational today (Marach 5, 2008) by Transport Minister Censu Galea at the Maritime Trade Centre, Marsa.
VTMIS is mandatory to commercial shipping and the port community through international and EU legislation.
The systems are operated by the Maritime Authority and the and replace the service provided by the Palace Tower Signal Station, commonly known as Turretta.
The objective of the VTMIS, which includes an Automatic Identification System (AIS), is to monitor shipping and to provide vessel traffic management to shipping within the national waters and in ports.
The Malta Port and Coastal Vessel Traffic Services involved the setting up of a network of eight radars (one of which was already being used by AFM), automatic identification system stations, VHF communications, VHF direction finders and weather stations around the Maltese islands.
The MMA said this system provides it and the AFM with the means to monitor and manage, on a 24×7 basis, ports and coastal vessel traffic and automatically sends ship notifications to the European Maritime Safety Agency through the national Safe Sea Net system, which is obligatory to all EU member states, with Malta being one of the first to implement this system.
This surveillance equipment also helps to curtail illegal activities at sea, as well as to assist the authorities during search and rescue operations and dealing with illegal immigration. It is also aimed to enhance the safety and security and increase efficiency of maritime traffic within the ports, approaches and territorial waters of Malta. This is a key factor to ensuring the continued growth of the maritime industry in Malta which will see even more shipping coming into and out of Maltese ports, the Maritime Authority said.