Humber on course to be Vessel Traffic Services centre of excellence

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 10 May 2019

ABP is on course to establish the Humber as a centre of excellence for Vessel Traffic Services training.

The Humber Estuary is vitally important for trade in and out of the UK, with leading port group's operations at Immingham, Grimsby, Goole and Hull offering unrivalled access for vessels.

With more than 30,000 international shipping movements a year, keeping track of each vessel as it traverses the Humber is work undertaken by the Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) that requires specialist training and qualifications.

Operators work in a similar fashion to air traffic control. They monitor vessels on the water to ensure safe navigation. Their work enhances the flow, and helps to protect the marine environment, shore side facilities and infrastructure.

A number of courses have to be completed in addition to on the job training before you can become a VTS operator.

ABP Humber VTS is now able to offer Maritime and Coastguard Agency accredited courses such as the V103/5 refresher. This mandatory course for anyone who holds a VTS qualification has to be taken every three years. Up until recently it was only available at colleges in South Shields and South Tyneside.

Read more: Inside the hi-tech command centre that keeps the Humber moving

Last month five students successfully completed it at the Port of Grimsby, saving valuable time and money. The students all hailed from the Humber, but as the facility doesn’t have to close its doors for the holidays like other colleges, the training academy will likely attract students from across the UK and beyond.

The refresher course included 10 hours of classroom sessions and 10 hours of practical sessions on simulators installed at Port of Grimsby. The course was delivered by AFS Consultants, who provide specialist VTS training and support to colleges, ports and equipment suppliers worldwide.  

Stewart Taylor, VTS manager said: “It is our aim to become a Centre of Excellence for VTS right here on the Humber. We have started with the delivery of the refresher course, and hope to expand our offer in time to offer other courses relevant to VTS colleagues.

“We have a quality VTS station and training centre with up-to-date simulators that ensures students receive their training in the best possible environment. With AFS Consultants delivering the training to the highest standard, students will want to study here, meaning we can continue to invest in the high end training academy longer term.”

In many instances it is usually former seafaring deck officers, with experience of handling vessels on the water, who follow such a career path, taking a role using their skills on land. However, VTS training providers are seeing an increased intake of people from different maritime backgrounds.

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