Vessel traffic service (VTS) is a marine traffic monitoring system established by the harbour or the port authorities – similar to air traffic control for the aircrafts. Since more than 80% of world trade is transported by sea, safety and efficiency of maritime transport is essential to the world economy, and a key factor in sustainability efforts, concerning both environmental protection as well as safety of life.
The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) requires many vessel types to be fitted with the Automatic Identification System (AIS). AIS is an autonomous and continuous broadcast system for ship-to-ship as well as ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship information exchange. AIS data enables human VTS operators to monitor ship movements from their control rooms.