Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority, AMSA, has issued a new video on the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vesel Traffic Service, REEFVTS, available for viewing on the AMSA website. Several high-profile groundings have led to installation of VTS and new procedures for the environmentally-critical area.
Located in Townsville, REEFVTS is a joint initiative of Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) and AMSA. It is one of the largest coastal vessel traffic services in the world, monitoring from Cape York to Sandy Cape.
The Great Barrier Reef is recognised all over the world for both its stunning beauty and its environmental diversity. That’s why the International Maritime Organization declared the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait particularly sensitive sea areas. This means extra care needs to be taken to safeguard the reef from the potential impacts of shipping.
The aim of REEFVTS is to:
- enhance navigational safety in Torres Strait and the inner route of the Great Barrier Reef by interacting with shipping to provide information on potential traffic conflicts and other navigational information
- minimise the risk of maritime accident and consequential ship-sourced pollution and damage to the marine environment
- provide an ability to respond quickly in the event of any safety or pollution incident.
REEFVTS has been extremely successful – since its introduction in 2004 there has only been one grounding. This represents a 90 per cent reduction in the rate of groundings in the area.
AMSA and MSQ are working together to make shipping in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait area safer and more efficient. We’ve been entrusted with the guardianship of one of the world’s greatest natural treasures. The key to protecting the reef is cooperation and communication. Through REEFVTS and other protection measures, the Australian and Queensland Governments are working with the shipping industry to safeguard the reef for the future.