Ships navigating in Maltese waters can avail themselves of various facilities. Through effective control over navigation in Maltese territorial and internal waters by the Valletta Ports Vessel Traffic Service (Valletta VTS), vessels can navigate Maltese waters safely.
The Vessel Traffic Management and Information System (VTMIS) forms part of the TM P&Y Directorate. The aim of this department is to further enhance the safety and the efficiency of port operations and shipping movements in the approaches to the ports and local waters and also comply with International and EU requirements. Ships navigating in Maltese waters can avail themselves of various facilities. Through effective control over navigation in Maltese territorial and internal waters by the Valletta VTS, vessels can navigate Maltese waters safely, also supported by regularly maintained, efficient lighthouses, beacons, buoys and other navigational aids required to further enhance safety of navigation. The Traffic Management section deals mainly with the terminal operators and ship agents and handles the pre-arrival and pre-departure notifications and berth planning. Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) deals directly with shipping movements providing an Information Service (IS), a Traffic Organisation Service (TOS) and when deemed necessary a Navigational Assistance Service (NAS). The service is provided on a 24/7 basis. The personnel manning the VTS operators have been trained both locally and in the UK to International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) standards.
A weather station buoy is in operation and transmitting data at the Valletta Traffic Services department. The weather buoy successfully transmits wave height, wind force and direction and current speed and direction.
Navigational charts, paper and digital, of Maltese waters are, through reasons of history, produced by UKHO. MHO has the capacity to produce and update electronic navigational charts to support the VTS system and can produce limited paper charts and diagrams for specialist local purposes such as navigational warnings. Nautical cartography is limited but otherwise covered by MHO's close links with UKHO.
The hydrographic office, MHO has also the responsibility for monitoring and administering Malta’s AtoNs. Any failures of navigational aids are immediately reported to the maintenance department and followed up until these are rectified. The MHO immediately issues navigational warnings to notify the mariners of this failure through Malta Radio and Valletta VTS.
Small Ships Regulations
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