About London VTS
London VTS manages and oversees safety of navigation in one of the largest and most diverse VTS areas in the UK covering an area of some 600 square miles of waterway spanning 95 miles from Teddington to the North Sea.
Click here to download the London VTS Operational Information document.
The aims and objectives of London VTS are to ensure safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation, and to protect the marine environment, adjacent shore areas, work sites and offshore installations from the possible adverse effects of maritime traffic.
London VTS operates from two state of the art VTS Centres located at the Port Control Centre in Gravesend and at the Thames Barrier Navigation Centre in Woolwich.
A team of 44 VTS personnel oversee the Port of London’s VTS area on a 24/7 basis 365 days a year.
Each VTS Centre is led by a VTS Supervisor with the delegated powers of the Harbour Master and is supported by a team of VTS Officers and Shipping Coordinators.
All VTS personnel are fully trained to the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) and Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) standards using the PLA’s in house MCA accredited training programmes.
London VTS provides three types of service to vessels navigating in the port:
Traffic Information Service - a service to provide essential and timely information to assist the onboard decision making process
Traffic Organisation Service - a service to prevent the occurrence of dangerous maritime situations
Navigation Assistance Service - a service to assist in the onboard decision making process
All of the surveillance data is fused to provide VTS personnel a live and resilient traffic image.
You can read more about VTS equipment here.
Visits to London VTS
London VTS is pleased to accept visitors subject to certain restrictions. If you have an interest in the River Thames, VTS or navigation then it may be possible to arrange a visit or for a VTS Manager to come to you to deliver a presentation. Visits to London VTS are subject to availability and regretfully it will not be possible to fulfil all requests.
Harbour Master - (VTS & SMS) - Simon Phillips
Simon leads the VTS Department and is responsible for the strategic development of the department’s policy and procedural management as well as national/international liaison activities. Simon also retains strategic management of the PLA’s IALA and MCA-accredited training organisation and is responsible for the maintenance of the Port’s Marine Safety Management System (SMS).
To find out more about the work of the SMS Team - please click here
VTS Operations Manager - Kyle Simpson - Purkiss
VTS Administrative Officer - Priscilla Webster
Port Control Centre – for matters to the east of Crayfordness
Thames Barrier Navigation Centre – for matters to the west of Crayfordness
In order to comply with requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Telecommunications Act 1984, Communication with VTS via VHF and telephone, as well as AIS and RADAR data, is recorded to support the Harbour Master in carrying out statutory functions and for the purpose of promoting maritime safety, crime prevention and public safety.