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SMarine Traffic Regulation SUMMARY Marine traffic regulation following the aviation model often is suggested as a way to improve navigation safety. There are more similarities between the marine and aviation operating environments than commonly perceived. Howev- er, the differences preclude the aviation system from serving as an exact or even close operational model for marine traffic regulation, although lessons can be learned and adapted from the aviation experience. Furthermore, although ma- rine traffic regulation analogous to the aviation model is technologically possible, it is not operationally feasible as the marine navigation and piloting system is organized and operated. Extensive changes would be needed nationally and in- ternationally in system organization, vessel outfitting with navigation equipment, professional development of mariners and traffic regulation personnel, vessel crewing, and marine operating practices. Nevertheless, full mission vessel traffic service (VTS) systems, where in operation, provide an improved organizational structure for interdependent decision making aboard the vessel and in the water- way VTS operations also provide safety oversight for vessel transits in the VTS service area. Major factors that distinguish the marine environment are the numerous variables that must be integrated and accommodated in vessel maneuvering. These variables include frequent hydrodynamic interactions of vessels with other vessels and with the physical features of channels and other waterways. The port and waterways operating environment is somewhat more forgiving than that found in aviation in that even major marine accidents or failures of primary pro 185
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186 MINDING THE HELM pulsion and steering systems usually do not immediately result in loss of life or the vessel, but the timing of decision malting and maneuvering can be just as critical as in aviation. Active traffic direction already is practiced in the marine sector on a very selective basis in the form of shore-based pilotage, normally provided by marine pilots in cooperation with a VTS. In addition, traffic is man- aged in ports and waterways through control of time and space in which vessel movements occur, usually on a case-by-case basis in the United States but more systematically in some major foreign ports. Broader application of directed ma- neuvers and traffic management is constrained by numerous factors including the complexity of marine operations; the lack of precision navigation capabilities on most vessels in terms of equipment and related operator skills that would permit strict adherence to assigned paths; the lack of complete, centralized information about each vessel, including maneuvering behavior, and about operating condi- tions both on the vessel and in the waterway; the difficulty in acquiring and ensuring sufficient breadth and depth of nautical and traffic-control knowledge and skills among shore-based traffic regulators; and lack of a common language for navigation communications among bridge personnel, marine pilots, and other vessels. The Coast Guard's port-level, nationwide operational infrastructure- including existing VTS systems, perhaps linked with marine-pilot dispatch offices, marine exchanges, and port authorities could be adapted to form a national marine traffic regulation network modeled in concept after the National Air- space System, with or without traffic management or positive direction of vessel maneuvers. Alternatively, government- and privately-operated VTS and VTS-like systems could be expanded to improve waterways management and safety over- sight. REGULATION OF MARINE AND AIR TRAFFIC Marine traffic regulation, in the strict sense modeled by the air traffic con- trol system, is not practiced anywhere in the world. Whereas all aircraft operat- ing under instrument flight rules (or visual flight rules in designated airspaces) are controlled relative to flight plans and monitored to ensure compliance and clearances by an air traffic controller, there is no overarching system for control- ling ship movements. Various types and levels of traffic regulation are in place but not in the same form or to the same degree as in aviation. There is one notable exception- the occasional practice in Rotterdam of a marine pilot using the communications capabilities of a vessel traffic center (VTC) to direct the movements of a ship piloted by a fellow marine pilot under very difficult operat- ing conditions (Herberger et al., 19911. The possibility of enhancing marine traffic regulation in other settings often arises, however, and, when it does, refer- ences to the aviation system closely follow.
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MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION 187 In accordance with that theme, this chapter explores the marine traffic regu- lation concept using the framework of the aviation model. By comparing the aviation and marine environments, the chapter examines whether some or all of the operating concepts and practices exhibited by the U.S. national air traffic control system might be adapted for marine traffic. Marine traffic regulation concepts and alternatives are presented, including expanded use of government- and privately operated VTS and VTS-like systems of various scale that have been established in about 20 U.S. ports and waterways (Figure 5-11. COMPARISON OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL AND MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION Overview The need for an air traffic control (ATC) system that is highly reliable is driven by the unforgiving operating environment. The requirement for an ATC system arose because of the demand for flight operations during periods of limit- ed visibility, where "see and avoid" was no longer effective. The main functions of ATC are to issue clearances to aircraft based on their desired flight plan and the existing flight plans of other aircraft and to monitor the air traffic to ensure compliance and clearance. The consequences of onboard system failure can be catastrophic, as aircraft and the lives of passengers are totally dependent upon reliable system performance. Furthermore, the high speeds at which interactions occur increase the importance of timely and correct decision making. Great pre- cision is required for safe operations, and there is limited opportunity to recover from operator error or from failure of aircraft or control systems. In contrast, while an aircraft and its occupants are in extreme danger if propulsion is lost in flight, the danger to a ship and persons on board usually develops less quickly. In a brief time after system loss, the vessel may be able to anchor, obtain external assistance (such as tugs), restore failed systems, or warn off conflicting traffic. Further, even where time is a critical factor in maneuvering (as it often is in confined pilotage waters) and a collision or grounding occurs, destruction and loss of life usually are not immediate. On the other hand, the potential for wide spread consequences, especially to the natural environment, is generally greater in marine transportation than in aviation due to the carriage of large quantities of petroleum or other hazardous and dangerous cargoes. Another key difference between the two environments is that air traffic control is mainly the product of the latter half of the twentieth century, when technology has been greatly advanced, whereas marine operations are steeped in tradition and are highly fragmented from a systems perspective, affecting the acceptance of technological change. Partly as a result, public policy calls for- and the general public expects an air traffic control system that maximizes the potential for safety. Marine traffic regulation has received considerably less at
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88 MINDING THE HELM I ( \ - VTS Operating Authority O U.S. Coast Guard U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ~ Other GovernmenVP~vate O Marine Pilots 7~_ \: i~ ~ l 1 1 Sal L ~ rat A\ = ~ \ FIGURE 5-1 Vessel traffic services and similar operations serving U.S. waters. KEY: VTS locations and, in italics, operating organizations (GAO, 1993b; Ives et al., 1992). 1 Vancouver VTS Centre (Canadian Coast Guard). Serves U.S. waters of Haro Strait and Straits of Georgia by bilateral agreement between the United States and Cana- da; 2 Puget Sound VTS (U.S. Coast Guard). Serves Canadian waters in Straits of Juan de Fuca by bilateral agreement between the United States and Canada; 3 VTS San Francisco (U.S. Coast Guard); 4 Ports of Los Angeles (Los Angeles City Pilots) and Long Beach (Jacobsen Pilot Service). Voluntary private VTS systems. VTS for harbor approaches has been established by the Marine Exchange and includes joint operation with U.S. Coast Guard; 5 Aloha Tower (State of Hawaii, Department of Transporta- tion). Controls access to Honolulu Harbor; 6 VTS Prince William Sound (U.S. Coast Guard); 7 VTS Houston-Galveston (U.S. Coast Guard); 8 Sabine Waterways (Sabine Pilots). Voluntary traffic system operated by the pilot association under an agreement with other organizations in the local maritime community; 9 Lake Charles VTS (Lake Charles Pilot Association). Voluntary traffic system operated by the pilot association for the Calcasieu Ship Channel under an agreement with other organizations in the local maritime community; 10 Marine Safety Office, Morgan City (VTS for Berwick Bay area)(U.S. Coast Guard); 11 Algiers Point Traffic Light (U.S. Coast Guard). Operated during high water conditions. VTS New Orleans was disestablished in 1987; 12 South- west Pass (Associated Branch Pilots). Voluntary, privately-operated VTS-like informa- tion service; 13 VTS Louisville (U.S. Coast Guard). Operated during high water condi- tions; 14 Entrance to Chesapeake Bay (Virginia Pilots Association and Association of Maryland Pilots). Voluntary, privately operated VTS; 15 Entrance to Delaware Bay (Pilots Association for the Bay and River Delaware). Voluntary, privately operated VTS;
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MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION Operator's console, Vessel Traffic Service New York. Equipment in the vessel traffic center was upgraded in 1994 to the configuration shown. (Dave Hill, USCG Vessel Traf- c Service New York). FIGURE 5-1 continued 16 Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Mandatory traffic system for transit of the canal; 17 VTS New York i U.S. Coast Guard). Reestablished in 1991; 18 Cape Cod Canal (U.S. Anny Corps of Engineers). Mandatory traffic manage- ment system for transit of the canal; 19 VTS Massena (Saint Lawrence Seaway Devel- opment Corporation); 20 VTS Sault St. Marie (U.S. Coast Guard); 21 VTS Sarnia (Canadian Coast Guard). Serves U.S. waters in the Detroit and St. Clair rivers by interna- tional agreement between the United States and Canada; A The U.S. Navy operated naval access control systems for the entrance to certain naval ports including Little Creek, Virginia, and Pearl Harbor and controls access to naval firing ranges in U.S. waters; B The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers queues traffic through its locks and dams through- out the inland waterways system, including the Chittendon (Ballard) Locks in Seattle, the Columbia and Snake River systems, and the western rivers.
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190 MINDING THE HELM tension. However, interest is growing nationally and internationally in systematic local and regional traffic management due to a recent series of noteworthy tanker accidents with great spillage of oil (CCG, 1992; Corbet, 1992; EC, 1987; Her- berger et al., 1991; Ives et al., 1992; Maio et al., 1991; Mizuki et al., 1989; OSIR, 1993a,b,c). Federal Marine and Aviation Infrastructures Local port authorities and other port facility owners in the United States may sponsor local channel improvement projects, provide shoreside infrastruc- ture, and be involved in vessel scheduling with shipping companies and agents. But port authorities seldom are involved in managing actual operation of the waterway systems that provide access to their ports this is principally a federal responsibility. The lack of consolidated ownership of port facilities and lack of a single coordinating authority for port operations can be a complicating factor in vessel traffic management by other than the federal government whose authority covers the full extent of navigable federal waters. The federal government provides national infrastructure, with administra- tive and operational capabilities and enabling authorities for traffic control, for- both aviation and marine sectors. The Department of Transportation (DOT) ad- ministers the National Airspace System through the Federal Aviation Adminis- tration (FAA). The DOT administers port safety, port security, aids to naviga- tion, and other activities to keep ports and waterways open and safe through the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Department of the Army is responsible for construction, operation, and maintenance of federal nav- igation projects for inland waterways, canals, locks and dams (including traffic queuing functions), and federal channels in coastal ports. Substantial public resources are committed to traffic systems in both modes of transportation. Cost recovery by the federal government also is substantial for both modes, although the exact figures depend on which federal taxes, revenues, and sponsor cost-shares for construction projects are counted (see CBO, 19923. The National Airspace System The U.S. air traffic control system provides virtually universal coverage of controlled airspace (Illman, 1993; Nolan, 19901. Air traffic control services in- clude: · flight service stations that help pilots plan their flights; · airport traffic control towers (at about 400 airports) for direction of land ings and takeoffs extending to several miles from the airport, and ground con trol; terminal radar approach control (TRACON) facilities at busy airports .
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MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION 191 (188 nationwide) that monitor aircraft movement within about 30-50 miles of the airport after handoff from or handoff to enroute control and handoff to or from the tower controller; · air route traffic control centers (ARTCC) (22 nationwide) that monitor and guide aircraft when handed off from or to a local TRACON, towers, or another ARTCC; and · a central flow control facility that is responsible for monitoring and man- aging aviation traffic flows nationwide. All of these services are operated by the FAA, and all are staffed by specially trained federal employees. Airport infrastructures generally are not considered part of the airspace system, as most are operated by state or municipal govern- ments, but air and surface traffic at airports are part of the FAA system. The electronics suites supporting the airspace system are generally quite sophisticat- ed, although not fully adequate under certain conditions, particularly when traf- fic overloading occurs, and latest-generation equipment is not available at all locations. Additionally, extensive pre-planning of scheduled air carrier service is provided by major carriers for their flights. Also provided is real-time enroute support, referred to as flight control, that complements air traffic control servic- es. This company-based planning is a principal resource for keeping air carrier service within air traffic control capacity and includes rescheduling and cancel- lation of flights if delays develop, such as might occur due to adverse weather affecting landings and takeoffs. The air traffic control system provides a highly structured framework within which precise rules, procedures, and highly reliable communications links allow for interdependent decision making by highly skilled personnel dispersed across the entire network. Specific features that, collectively, enable this distributed decision-making system to control air traffic effectively are shown in Box 5-1. The system can be characterized as highly coupled. There also is a near-miss reporting system to facilitate identification, assessment, and correction of specif- ic and systematic problems. Individual features appear to be matched to current operational needs and safety objectives, although substantial equipment improve- ments are needed. The FAA began a major long-term modernization program in 1981 that is still in progress (CBO, 1992; Nolan, 1990~. (Major high-technology components of the program were cancelled by the FAA in mid-1994, because of rapid evolution in technology, reported flaws in specialized software, opposition by traffic controllers to replacement of paper strips by electronic data for flight tracking, and major schedule delays and cost increases ELi, 1994; Hilzenrath and Burgess, 1994; Weintraub, 1994; Weintraub and Burgess, 19943.) iThe Clinton Administration began action in mid-1994 to shift responsibility for operation of the National Airspace System from the FAA to a government corporation, because of alleged bureau- cratic inefficiencies in the FAA's administration (Hilzenrath and Burgess 1994).
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Representative terms from entire chapter:
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MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION 193 to the aircraft (including maneuvering orders), and for both pilots and controllers to take whatever subsequent actions are appropriate. Applying the Aviation Model to Marine Transportation Ensuring traffic safety requires a multidimensional solution. Seventeen fea- tures associated with the National Airspace System were identified that contrib- ute to its success (Box 5-1; Braff et al., 1993~. Physical separation, advance forewarning of danger, and pilot and controller proficiency appear to be espe- cially important in preventing accidents. Traffic separation is an essential line of defense against mid-air collisions. The three-dimensional operating environment once enroute provides great flexi- bility for multiple and layered flight paths. Although traffic separation for com- mercial vessels is feasible in open waters, the geographic and hydrographic fea- tures of most harbors and waterways, as well as the maneuvering requirements, often preclude two-way separated traffic lanes. As in aviation, the key to preventing marine accidents by outside interven- tion is to ensure forewarning of danger. The advance notice must be sufficient that corrective or evasive action can be taken to maintain adequate separation while also increasing the range of alternative actions available to resolve actual or potentially dangerous situations. Marine traffic controllers (such as VTS oper- ators) would have to acquire sufficient professional knowledge and skills to perform the same functions as an air traffic controller. If this were feasible, which is an issue of considerable national and international debate (Ives et al., 1992), then other questions would arise. In particular, how much separation and time would be needed to interpret that a dangerous situation was developing, to communicate this information to the involved vessel or vessels, and for the per- son piloting the vessels to evaluate the information received and take the nec- essary corrective or evasive action? The professional knowledge, skills, and pro- ficiency of masters, mates, and pilots, and their abilities to take corrective action was addressed in the preceding chapters. A human systems perspective on these abilities is presented in Chapter 7. Whether the aviation model would work in the marine environment to sup- port these actions and the underlying traffic control concept depends on: · whether and to what degree the factors that govern success in the Nation- al Airspace System are relevant to marine transportation; · identification and assessment of governing factors peculiar to the marine environment that cannot be handled by the air traffic control model; and · an assessment of capabilities to develop and operate a system of marine traffic regulation that incorporates the features of the air traffic control system. Adapting the aviation concept to marine transportation is discussed as an alterna- tive later in this chapter.
194 Comparing the Aviation and Marine Operating Environments MINDING THE HELM On cursory observation, the marine operating environment appears to be substantially different from the aviation environment. Yet, the physical forces involved are more similar than they might appear. The person piloting an aircraft or a vessel must understand the craft's behavior relative to the physical forces present and respond to them. Some of the factors that must be considered by the person piloting a vessel include aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, environmental conditions, channel configurations, navigation by all units in a two-dimensional plane, vessel-loading effects on controlling vessel movement, and traffic conges- tion. In fact, there are many similarities and some differences between the two environments. Table 5-1 characterizes these differences and similarities. The table is derived from Nolan (1990), the principal text on the fundamentals of air traffic control, and two papers prepared for the Committee on Advances in Nav- igation and Piloting Braff et al. (1993), which examined each feature and iden- tified implications for marine traffic regulation, and Ives et al. (1992), a detailed assessment of vessel traffic services. Additional Considerations in the Marine Setting Liability issues have yet to be resolved concerning VTS intervention to influence operator and vessel behavior, let alone traffic control. The master still is responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel. Under certain circumstances, the master may be unable to comply with an order issued by a waterway manag- er or port-safety official without endangering the vessel. For example, if a Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP' were compelled to suddenly close a channel due to a breakdown or a marine accident, the person piloting the vessel that has already committed to a transit may be unable to slow down, stop, anchor, or turn around.2 In such cases, obeying the order might be more dangerous to the vessel than proceeding; yet the master or pilot might feel obliged to obey the order, because it came from the Coast Guard. It can be argued that such decisions, and the shiphandling judgments required to execute the ensuing actions, should be left to operators aboard the vessel, because that is where the ultimate responsibil- ity lies. In any event, these types of cases could demand a continuing exchange between the vessel and waterway management authorities (perhaps through a VTS, where present) rather than an absolute decision. The circumstances could be further complicated by: 2For example a loaded tanker with a strong fair (following) current in a narrow channel might not be able to stop and hold position even with tug assistance, or to anchor or turn around. An intentional grounding in soft bottom might be the best alternative but this could subject the master or pilot to disciplinary proceedings. If the bottom were hard, then the only other option might be to proceed.
MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION TABLE 5-1 National Airspace System Features Compared ire the Aviation and Marine Sectors 195 Aviation Marine Governing National Federal Aviation National Coast Guard authority Administration (FAA) infrastructure; national infrastructure; national enabling authority for enabling authority for traffic regulation traffic control measures. measures (Shifting responsibility from FAA to a government corporation is under consideration. ) High reliability Available for aircraft and Available on a highly systems flight control systems. selective basis. Air traffic control equipment varies from older equipment to state of-the-art computer hardware and software. Universal rules Required use for all Use of self-enforcing and procedures aircraft operating under rules of the road instrument flight rules required; unit-by-unit and for entry into application; selective controlled space by monitoring; enforcement visual-flight-rule occurs after the fact. aircraft; active monitoring for aircraft under instrument flight rules. Universal Highly stylized language Stylized language operating required for aircraft available but not language and use operating under instrument required or in wide use. protocols flight rules. Direct traffic Standard practice for With rare exceptions, control aircraft operating under not practiced. instrument flight rules. Controlled space Strict rules govern entry Space management by the by all aircraft in Coast Guard on an controlled airspace infrequent and selective basis for federal waters; queuing of traffic by Army Corps of Engineers for transits of certain canals and continued on next page
206 MINDING THE HELM broadcast "in the blind" with no intended target. Vessels with a need for the information may or may not overhear the transmission. Vessel traffic services, in effect if not by design, lay a decision-making framework over the service area, using modern technology to link and improve decision making aboard participat- ing vessels. A VTS establishes a domain in which communications are conduct- ed; reporting formats, content, and times are established; and use of circuit disci- pline in transmissions on prescribed frequencies is encouraged or enforced. Such developments suggest at least the possibility of vastly improved marine safety performance. This potential is reduced somewhat by limitations in existing oper- ating practices and technologies for vessel-VTS interactions, particularly the reliance on voice radio communications and continuous monitoring as the pri- mary means for traffic data transfer (see Box 5-2; Chapter 6; Young, 1992, 1994). It is important to note that, as new operating conditions are established, old practices are altered or replaced. Such changes can enhance or degrade system performance, depending on how they are formed and implemented (NRC, 1990b). For example, after the Coast Guard-operated VTS in the Port of New York and New Jersey was shut down in 1988, mariners who had grown depen- dent on the disciplined information flow from the VTS had to return to informal, less-precise traditional methods for broadcasting information about their transits (Ives et al., 1992; Young, 1994~. The Marine Community's VTS Advisory Role Expertise from throughout the marine community has been used to guide constructive changes in marine traffic regulation. Such advice has been provided concerning the development and refinement of VTS operational concepts and the general monitoring of VTS performance. For example, in some U.S. ports, such as the Port of New York and New Jersey, New Orleans, and Houston, public advisory committees chartered by the DOT and administered by the Coast Guard provide advice on traffic management and harbor safety to local Coast Guard officials. In some other ports, including the Port of New York and New Jersey, and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, locally or regionally sponsored organizations work toward similar objectives. In still other ports, such advice is obtained through established working relationships between Coast Guard regulators and those regulated. Some foreign ports employ similar formal advisory committees to improve communications, planning, and performance of VTS systems. For example, one forum for discussing NITS matters is the Thames Marine Consultative Commit- tee, which consists of port authority officers and representatives of user groups, lighthouse authorities, the Department of Transport (United Kingdom), marine pilots, shipowners, shipping agents, and others (I. M. H. Slater, personal com- munication, July 27, 1993~.
amp II=~I~1I~ ~ s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s ~ s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s ~ s s s s s s s I 1~llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll~llllel~^icllll~klll_6si^~lllisllll~iSi~llllvislllll _llli~lll~lll6-llllll1 IllllllllllllllllllllllllllllSi~llll~llll<~llll~i~l~lllld~llll~llll~llll~sll~llllll#I~Sll~llllll~llllllll I ~ IMPROVING IS ~A~E~1 PorLby-Port Expansion of V1S 207 Addihonal VTS systems could be instaNed in the United States, but ~ v~i- ety of issues would need to be resolved hrsL Federal resources ~e limited, There ~e concems about tbe Coast Ou~d's Sta~Dg prachces: its capabiDties to build and maintain tbe necessary pro~ssional experdse; and, in tbe past its lack of long-te~ commitment to operahug VTS systems. Tbere is also concem about tbe national commitment ~r conOnuing operation of ~TS systems (C4O, 1988;
208 MINDING THE HELM Ives et al., 19923. Further, the VTS potential to reduce operational risk may be such that installation of a full-mission VTS in some ports would not be cost- effective, although potential improvements in economic efficiency might justify such an investment. Therefore, it is useful to consider alternatives to federally operated systems and to a full-mission VTS system. Regardless of the operating authority, VTS systems require standards and consistency in operations and pro- cedures and compatibility in equipment, especially when these standards and consistency of their application involve vessels participating in the VTS. Other- wise, the overall effectiveness of a system is reduced, particularly for users from outside the local port region. The General Accounting Office, in a 1975 review of the Coast Guard VTS program, recommended that the agency provide limited-scale VTS systems in many ports rather than full-mission systems in a few ports (GAO, 1975~. The Coast Guard instead chose full-mission systems to provide more complete navi- gation support in ports that were served. With the limitations of the technologies prevailing in VTS operations (voice radio communications and radar), extensive data collection and processing is required of VTS operators. Now, however, VTS technology has advanced to the point where automated systems can greatly improve the efficiency of data collection, presentation, and transfer, permitting human operators to focus on data interpretation and use. It is also technological- ly possible to provide electronic position monitoring for ports with low traffic volumes and reduced information-sharing needs through means other than voice radio or radar (see Chapter 6~. This development could permit the establishment of VTS systems with modest human-resource requirements. Such an approach would require expert understanding of specific navigation and piloting needs within targeted port and waterway systems to ensure that a mini-system would satisfy these needs. Cost reductions might make it possible for local sponsors to operate small- scale VTS or VTS-like systems. If the potential major benefits of a VTS could be attributed to information sharing rather than intervention, for example, then a modest installation with perhaps one or two operators on watch, depending on workload, might be sufficient and within the resource capabilities of local spon- sors. However, if interventions were an operating objective, requirements for professional expertise and supporting equipment would be substantially greater, and exposure to liability would increase as well. The overall liability of VTS facility operators (and watch personnel) and whether limits on liability should be instituted are implementation issues that would require further assessment. Measures to cover costs of full-mission systems could include federally or state-funded operation, public subsidies of private operations, increased port charges, imposition of user fees, or perhaps allocation of customs fees collected as duties on international marine cargoes moved through U.S. ports. It also may be possible to develop cooperatively operated systems. This could be accom- plished through joint funding, joint staffing, or co-location of VTS systems with
MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION 209 organizations providing essential functions (such as the COTP, pilot dispatch office, marine exchange, or port authority operations offices). Such approaches could facilitate information sharing and professional consultation. However, in- terorganizational relationships would require careful examination, and appropri- ate protocols would need to be established. For example, typical COTP law enforcement, port security, and marine pollution response activities might re- quire some degree of confidentiality, thereby imposing constraints on partici- pants in a jointly operated or co-located system. Cost sharing also would need to be addressed. Whether VTS or VTS-like systems should be run privately or by a federal agency is unresolved. Both forms exist in the United States; however, only VTS systems operated by the Coast Guard and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Develop- ment Corporation are addressed in the 1992 Federal Radionavigation Plan (DOT and DOD, 1993J. The plan is silent with regard to non-federal VTS or VTS-like operations or marine traffic regulation conducted by other federal agencies, such as that performed by the Army Corps of Engineers for transits of the Cape Cod Canal (USAGE, 19801. The Coast Guard has a national infrastructure for administering a nation- wide program as well as experience in operating VTS, but the agency lacks the resources for a major expansion. Additional federal funding would have to be provided (GAO, 1993b,c), or resources reallocated from other programs. Fur- ther, national professional development standards have not been established for VTS watchstanders nor is national-level generic training available (Ives et al., 19921. Although international VTS operating guidelines are available (IALA, 1990; IMO, 1985a; F. Weeks, 1992), private VTS and VTS-like installations are not required by the Coast Guard to follow such standards. There are no accredi- tation or approval programs for private VTS or VTS-like operations, no certifi- cation programs or licensing requirements for individuals performing VTS func- tions, and no official oversight (Ives et al., 19929. Whether private operations could assume proactive, full-mission VTS operations is unclear. At the port level, organizations such as marine exchanges and pilot associa- tions have demonstrated the capability to operate small-scale VTS or VTS-like systems. However, most pilot associations are not organized to provide VTS services, although some may have reserve capacity that could be applied to this purpose. Further, not all individuals are well suited to coordinate a systemwide VTS operation or serve as a VTS watchstander.3 Whether Coast Guard personnel are sufficient in number to provide man- ning for a major VTS expansion in the near term is not certain. However, staff- ing needs could be reduced by the adoption of technology that would reduce the 3A watchstander position in a full-mission VTS system imparts less professional stature (and financial compensation) than does the traditional marine pilot's position, but the comparison is not direct because watchstanding typically requires different technical expertise.
210 MINDING THE HELM Cape Henry pilot tower operated jointly by the Association of Maryland Pilots and the Virginia Pilots as a pilot dispatch and small-scale, information-oriented VTS system. (William F. X. Band, Association of Maryland Pilots) need for extensive manual collection and processing of traffic information. In the long term, technology that permits electronic rather than voice radio trans- mission of general traffic information could potentially reduce manning require- ments while also reducing the potential for human error. Increased use of civil- ian employees as watchstanders also may be feasible at some locations. In assessing requirements for large-scale NITS operations, a long-term staff- ing commitment by the entity that operates or supports operations is a major issue. Manpower needs include provisions for communicating with foreign-flag
MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION ........ ~ _ ~ _ _ 2~..''.'. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ : ~ ~ ~.~.~' '"''"' ~: ~"". ': i : ~~ 211 Pilot dispatcher, Cape Henry pilot tower. (William F. X. Band, Association of Maryland Pilots) ships prior to boarding a marine pilot, an important factor in ensuring that ships make it safely into the pilot boarding area. Stress and burnout also merit atten- tion if personnel assignments are extended to VTS watch duties. These factors typically are not addressed in comparisons between vessel and VTS operations and professional requirements. Adapting the Aviation Model to Marine Transportation Another option is to develop a marine traffic regulation system that mirrors the air traffic control system in concept if not in function, using and expanding existing VTS systems as the centerpiece. Many segments of a nationwide system already exist. Coast Guard field offices (which already have access and contrib- ute to the agency's marine safety information system) might provide an organi- zational framework that could link vessel movement information. Vessel move- ments would not necessarily have to be monitored in real time at all locations, depending on factors such as traffic volume. Existing VTS systems could pro- vide the structure, rules, and procedures for coordinated decision making throughout the VTS service area. The system also could be linked with state and local pilot associations, which are not organized at present to provide national services. A linked system could provide for improvements in pre-arrival reports, vessel performance tracking, and near-miss reporting, while also obligating ves- sels to use standard protocols and procedures.
212 MINDING THE HELM Because existing facilities would be used, such a system could be imple- mented relatively quickly and at modest cost. However, system changes would also result in modified operating behavior among system users. Therefore, chang- es of this magnitude must not be approached casually. A long-term commitment to system operation and maintenance from the Coast Guard, the DOT, and the Congress would be essential to system continuity and effectiveness. Conceiv- ably, such a system also could provide real-time vessel performance informa- tion, which could be developed into a national reporting system for near misses. This application would help overcome current data limitations for identification and analysis of safety performance of individual vessels, operating companies, and the navigation and piloting system. An alternative would be to establish more VTS systems without linking them together. This option could lead to improved safety within the ports and waterways served, but it would not provide the added value possible by linking the systems together on a broader scale. A major obstacle to creating a marine traffic regulation network is the fact that, nationally and internationally, VTS systems don't cover all ports. More- over, even where VTS systems are present, they differ in operating procedures and levels of service. These variables, and indeed the very existence of a VTS, add to the range of knowledge and expertise required on vessel bridges and in pilot houses for safe navigation. While local operators appear able to adjust to a local VTS, individuals from other regions have more difficulty learning system practices, particularly where trade routes expose bridge-team personnel to multi- ple VTS systems or where vessels call on the same ports infrequently. These problems are compounded by the great diversity in manning and operating prac- tices associated with the merchant vessels that trade with the United States. All these factors suggest a need for VTS procedural standardization and for marine pilots to provide local procedural knowledge in addition to navigation and ship- handling knowledge and skills. VTS standards and guidelines published by IMO and IALA could serve as a foundation for developing national VTS standards. However, some local flexibility would likely be necessary to accommodate unique local operating conditions. Shore-based Pilotage Vessel maneuvering can be directed and controlled by individuals not aboard the vessel to some extent. This practice occurs on a limited basis in the form of shore-based pilotage (also called "assisted passage" transits or "remote pilot- age"~. Those providing shore-based pilotage today do not purport to con a vessel into or out of port. Rather, the objective is to provide information to a vessel's master or pilot (if aboard) that will supplement available bridge-team informa- tion and ensure the safest possible passage. Information that is typically provid- ed includes positional information, traffic data, navigation information on the
MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION 213 course to make good (that is, the course adjusted to compensate for physical forces needed to adhere to a trackline), vectors and distances, identifiers of nav- igation marks, and other information normally used by a pilot. Directed maneu- vering by shore-based personnel analogous to aviation practice is considered beyond the capabilities of existing navigation equipment. Nevertheless, individ- uals and organizations providing shore-based pilotage expect that the person piloting the vessel will adhere to whatever instructions are provided in order to receive this service (Herberger et al., 1991; Ives et al., 1992; I. M. H. Slater, 1993, personal communication, July 27, 19911. Shore-based pilotage generally is provided on an exception basis, such as when it is needed to guide vessels to a position where a pilot can board during adverse weather conditions. This form of service is provided by marine pilots in a few ports (including Rotterdam and Vlissingen "Western Scheldt River ap- proaches], the Netherlands, and Kent, England [Themes River estuary]) under very select criteria (Herberger et al., l991J. Conceptually, shore-based pilotage also could be used to ensure that vessels unable to enter a port remain out of dangerous waters while awaiting more favorable conditions. Marine pilots providing shore-based pilotage usually use VTS communica- tions and informational resources, but the pilotage is usually not formally pro- vided by the VTS (Herberger et al., 1991; Ives et al., 1992~. An exception is the Port of London, where pilot and VTS services are both provided by the Thames Navigation Service (I. M. H. Slater, personal communication, June 29, 19933. Shore-based pilotage normally is limited to small and moderately sized vessels, which generally are more maneuverable than, for example, large tankers. Some VTS systems provide limited and selective navigation support to ma- rine pilots and masters similar to that provided by a member of the bridge team dedicated to providing navigation support. This is not shore-based pilotage in the strictest sense. Typically, navigation support services aid in positioning in an- chorages. Services of this form are provided to marine pilots by Jacobsen Pilot Service in Long Beach Harbor, by the Vancouver VTS Center in Canada, and by VTS New York, which also has assisted tugmasters in positioning barges (Ives et al., 1992J. Emergency pilotage-like services also are sometimes provided. In one worst-case scenario in the Thames estuary during the 1970s, the assigned marine pilot died during the vessel's inbound passage. A watchstander at the London VTS, under the supervision of an experienced VTS controller, effective- ly directed the foreign-flag vessel (despite severe language difficulties) into an anchorage to await arrival of a replacement pilot (Herberger et al., 1991~. With the exception of the Puget Sound VTS, U.S. Coast Guard-operated VTS systems do not provide maneuvering orders. Puget Sound VTS has done so on a few occasions, usually involving a foreign-flag ship that missed the Port Angeles pilot station and was standing in dangerous waters of the eastern Straits of Juan de Fuca. The maneuvering instructions were designed to move the ship out of danger and to permit boarding of a marine pilot. As with navigation
214 MINDING THE HELM support, such emergency actions mirror shore-based pilotage but do not reflect the full meaning of the term. For one thing, such interventions are based on policies and procedures established by the unit commanding officer (VTS direc- tor) and the Coast Guard's tradition of emergency response, rather than on spe- cific policy. Further, although interventions are sometimes feasible using only communications systems, the potential for error is increased in the absence of appropriate surveillance coverage. Establishing a national, comprehensive system of shore-based pilotage would be no simple matter. There are philosophical, organizational, technical, staffing, and liability issues. The national and international marine communities have not supported issuance of maneuvering orders to a vessel from a shore- based facility, except where this is a noncompulsory service offered by marine pilots. Even if a broader shore-based pilotage system were mandated for some or all ports, the implementation issues would be formidable (Herberger et al., 1991; Ives et al., 19923. To achieve maneuvering results comparable to those of an accomplished marine pilot, the controller would have to acquire, filter, process, and integrate dynamic and complex information affecting each ship and then translate it into positioning, continuous maneuvering control, and trajectory main- tenance. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for VTS watchstanders who are not already skilled in marine navigation and piloting to acquire sufficient skills to undertake such a role. (In contrast, an air traffic controller is not asked to fly the planes or to integrate the many cues that must be considered in deciding something as simple as when and where to turn.) Even if the VTS were able to acquire the necessary data, the information still would have to be integrated, decisions made, orders fed back to the vessel under control, and timely and correct action taken by the vessel operator. Because navigation and shiphandling require constant attention in piloting waters and appear to demand substantial analysis and interpretation of all avail- able cues, it is not clear that more than one vessel could be controlled at once by a single individual ashore. Implementation of this option, beyond highly selec- tive scenarios using existing pilotage infrastructures, could raise the costs and professional requirements for providing these services. Liability issues also would need to be resolved. Decisions would have to be made regarding personal or corporate liability for faulty provision of VTS service (or perhaps VTS inac- tion) leading to a casualty with resulting damages to vessels, cargoes, or the environment or with loss of life. If policy makers insisted on developing a marine navigation and piloting system using shore-based pilotage, and if the complexities of vessel maneuver- ing required that controllers had the skills associated with marine pilots, then building the requisite work force would present additional challenges. The exist- ing marine infrastructure is not organized to train sufficient numbers of individu- als with pilot-like expertise.
MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION 215 IMPLEMENTING MORE RIGOROUS MARINE TRAFFIC REGULATION Establishment of more rigorous waterways management through marine traf- fic regulation of any form would not be easy. Considerable cooperation would be needed among the Coast Guard, the marine community, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (with respect to its federal navigation projects, to effectively respond to the many issues identified in this chapter. Any expansion in VTS systems would require assurance of broad-based confidence in their effective manning, operation, and maintenance. Clearly, the Coast Guard has developed considerable experience in operating VTS systems at selected locations, and considerable local support for them has evolved (Ives et al., 19921. Yet, there is scant quantifiable data to prove VTS effectiveness in improving marine safety (Ives et al., 1992; Young, 1992~. Additional doubts exist in the marine communi- ty concerning the agency's past history of wavering in its commitment to VTS (Ives et al., 1992~. Given these concerns, agency involvement in regulating pri- vate VTS or VTS-like operations to ensure consistency and integrity emulating the aviation model would stimulate considerable debate. All the same, safe- guarding ports and waterways is a Coast Guard statutory responsibility under Title 14 of the U.S. Code. Expanded marine traffic regulation could benefit from increased consulta- tive relationships between the Coast Guard and the marine community at the national and port levels. Such arrangements could enable the Coast Guard to gain access to the specialized expertise needed to guide planning and decision making and to build mariner and industry "ownership" in whatever approaches are selected. Expansion of marine traffic regulation beyond basic VTS concepts would entail a major change in national policy and direction that would greatly exceed the resources presently applied to this purpose. An alternative means for ensuring the availability of essential expertise, strengthening professional credibility, and building mariner and industry "owner- ship" of more rigorous marine traffic regulation would be to form a national com m~ssion to guide improvements. The commission could set criteria for the use of VTS and qualifications for organizations and personnel that operate them. If the membership of such a commission included representatives from the marine com- munity, the public, and the Coast Guard, this balance would provide the expertise necessary to guide implementation while also establishing broad-based profession- al credibility. In the concept envisioned here, the Coast Guard would be responsible for regulatory oversight, administration, and interagency coordination to ensure adherence to and implementation of these standards; these activities would draw on the agency's existing enabling authorities, administrative capabilities, and national port-level infrastructure. Also envisioned is Coast Guard coordination with the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and the Army Corps of Engineers to promote consistent application of national VTS standards in marine traffic regula- tion activities conducted by these organizations.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: