Turkish Straits, as geographical area in which vessel traffic services are provided, consist of the Istanbul Strait (17 NM in length), Marmara Sea (110 NM in length) and Çanakkale Strait (37 NM in length) under the sway of the State of Turkish Republic. This waterway which its length is 164 NM in total between Black Sea and Aegean Sea has no alternative and it is very important for all countries, especially for the economies of Black Sea countries.

Because of its geographical situation, narrowness, strong currents, sharp bends, uncertain weather conditions and 2500 regional maritime traffic activity in which approximately 2 million people were transported, 150 non-stopover vessels and 23 vessels carrying hazardous cargo passed every day, Istanbul Strait is the most important natural narrow waterway in the world. Above all, it is more critical that over 10 million people living in Istanbul may face with huge dangers caused by Maritime Traffic at any moment.

The high rate of maritime traffic density in Straits, the increase in tonnage and lengths of vessels passing through Straits, the increase in the number of vessels carrying hazardous cargo, complicated and difficult traffic structure, the increase in maritime accidents , adverse weather, sea, current and climate conditions, environmental conditions and local dangers, national and international developments, other maritime activities in the region, the regulations and recommendations of International Maritime Organization and Montreux Convention and the need for cooperation with other similar systems are the necessary factors to establish Turkish Straits Vessel Traffic Services.

Republic of Turkey, Prime Ministry, Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs is competent authority, in other words, it is administration. Our organization whose title was changed as General Directorate of Coastal Safety from General Directorate of Coastal Safety and Salvage Administration by a protocol, is authorized to operate the system of Turkish Straits Vessel Traffic Service. To this end, the head of Turkish Straits Vessel Traffic Services Department entered into service within the scope of our organization.

As of 15.06.2010, Pilotage Services which contain the services of leaving-berthing to the port and docks, leaving anchor, compulsory anchoring, the passages through Istanbul Strait, Canakkale Strait, Istanbul Port, Canakkale Port, Gelibolu Port, Izmir Port and Marmara Sea, have been started to be given within the scope of our department and our title has been changed as " The Head of Vessel Traffic and Pilotage Services Department".


Its purpose is to establish, operate and maintain "The System of Turkish Strait Vessel Traffic Services (TSVTS)" by modern and technological means in accordance with national and international rules to enhance the maritime traffic safety and the environmental safety against risk and dangers which may be resulted from maritime traffic, within specified service area in Turkish Straits consisting of Istanbul Strait, Canakkale Strait and Marmara Sea.


The related project was included in the investment program of Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs by the Council of Ministers Decision No. 96/8370 and dated 24.07.1996, with reference to the recommendation of National Security Council numbered 388 and dated 27.12.1995.

It went out to tender on 15.12.1998 by reviewing specifications prepared previously, in order to be able to award the project again. Tenders of companies were received on 12.04.1999. As a result of works done by tender committee and technical evaluation committee, it was awarded to Lockheed Martin Overseas Corporation located in U.S.A on 24.09.1999. The contract made between Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs and the company which won the tender, was enrolled by Court of Accounts and entered into force; so the obligation of contractor company was started.

The operation, maintenance and repair, and sustainment of the system has been carried out by our organization, Directorate General of Coastal Safety whose old title is Directorate General of Coastal Safety and Salvage Administration, in accordance with the Council of Ministers Decision No. 2002/4636 and dated 02.08.2002. For this purpose, a second protocol between Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs and Directorate General of Coastal Safety and Salvage Administration was made and brought into force on 26.09.2002.

Following the completion of building operations, equipment installations and equipping with personnel, TSVTS was opened by the participation of Mr. Prime Minister on 1 July 2003 in Cabotage Day. During the period of initial 6 months, system was tested for developing the training levels of operators and completing of possible operational and administrative deficiencies. After this training period, the system began to serve as operational on 30 December 2003.

Available coverage area of system was extended to include the Marmara Sea in 2008.

Turkish Standards Institution (TSE) started the inspection and surveillance process on June 2006 for “Quality Management System” of Turkish Straits Vessel Traffic Services, and TSVTS were certified by TS.EN ISO 9001 on August 2006.


- 2 Vessel Traffic Services Center(İstinye - Istanbul, Akbaş - Çanakkale)

- 16 Unmanned Traffic Surveillance Stations (There are radar and CCTV/IR cameras in all of them.)

- 2 dGPS reference stations

- 4 VHF/DF stations

- 5 racon stations

- 5 automatic meteorology stations

- 5 surface water measuring sensors

- 3 salinity temperature profilers

- 10 doppler current sensor stations

- Record and control units

- 24 VHF, 2 MF/HF radio equipments

(1 Traffic Surveillance Station in Bozcaada and 2 Traffic Surveillance Stations in Marmara Sea were included in the system on 01 July 2008.)


- To monitor ,night and day continuously , the maritime traffic in the marine area being established, in all kinds of environmental conditions with high sensitivity

- To enhance maritime traffic safety in its service and responsibility area

- To enhance navigational safety of vessel effectively, based on the responsibility of the master

- To establish and maintain "traffic image" of maritime in its own responsibility area, to transmit these information to vessels if necessary and, to record and measure sensitively navigational information to be used for this purpose

- To record all voice, data and images related with maritime traffic, to display them again when necessary

- To follow , on behalf of Administration, the application of national and international legislation concerning maritime traffic in the marine area being established

- To respond effectively and rapidly in case of accident, to minimize marine pollution and other economical losses, to provide the safety of life and property and, the continuation of traffic in a very short time securely,, to render necessary co-ordination and information service to the respective organizations for this purpose.

- To preserve all kinds of evidence including all image and voice records to be demanded by official authorities in incidents requiring judicial and administrative inquiry, to provide them within the bounds of possibility upon formal requests.

- To provide with necessary information in time which may help the decisions of the master concerning navigation, for minimizing of accident risk; to give necessary warning, recommendation and instructions in emergency situations.

- To provide the performance of more efficient traffic organization and management by exchanging information with neighbor VTS centers.


"Information Service", "Navigational Assistance Service", "Traffic Organization Service"

Maritime traffic in TSVTS area is monitored by using radar, AIS, closed-circuit television cameras, ENC, VHF devices (RT, DSC, DF). In addition, TSVTS provides aids to navigation information about concerned participant vessel together with dangers which could effect navigation and possible vessel movements from different sources.

VTS provides three main services. These are: information service, navigational assistance service and traffic organization service. Additionally, TSVTS provides assistance to Turkish AAKKM in search and rescue operations.

"Users Guide" including detailed information for introducing TSVTS system to all users has been printed and disrtibuted in Turkish/English. Besides, introduction of the system is made in the official IALA’s web site (International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities).

Information Service

- Marine Traffic information

-Information about the position of a vessel in relation with other vessels

-Position, course and speed information of other vessels according to vessel which the information is given

-Information about possible movements of other vessels

-Warnings to Mariners

-Hydrological information in case of request

-Information about reported status of navigational assistance in case of request

-Other information considered necessary by the TSVTS

Navigational Assistance Service

Navigational assistance service will be provided in severe navigation and meteorological conditions, in the given deficiencies or breakdowns situations during the passage or when it is considered necessary by the master. VTS operator may contribute by providing the following information to vessels and masters for taking decision about the safety of navigation of their vessels:

- Transmitting position information in order to ensure safe navigation of vessels sailing within the TAD

- Information about movements of other vessels in the vicinity

- Warnings with regard to dangerous situations that might develop

The beginning and ending time (date/time) of the navigational assistance must be clearly agreed and recorded by the vessel and TSVTS.

Traffic Organization Service

- Navigation Plans of vessels, entry permission, entrance date and time to Istanbul and

Çanakkale Straits,

- A possible change in navigation plan of the vessel,

- Operational information to vessels before entering the Straits related to the traffic organization

- Operational information to all vessels according to Turkish Straits Maritime Traffic Scheme

- Time information of vessels navigating

- Information about the time of anchorage, mooring, conning and coming alongside of vessels navigating in the established VTS area.

The SP1/SP2 reports is the primary sources for traffic organization service provided by the TSVTS. Timely and accurate reporting of them will increase the efficiency of maritime traffic organization.

Pilotage Services

It is the service provided with the intention of protecting life, property and environment by allowing them to navigate at seas and in the Turkish Straits in accordance with navigation rules determined by national and international rules when vessels enter/exit port, come alongside/leave dock/pier, secure or anchor to a buoy, and when leaving them or changing their places for any reason.

Pilotage Services including; Istanbul-Çanakkale Straits, Istanbul-Çanakkale-Gelibolu-Izmir Ports and Marmara Sea passages and mandatory anchorage and heaving up the anchor and coming alongside/leaving docks and piers services, are as follows:

a- Passage service given to vessels crossing stop over or non-stop over through Turkish Straits,

b- Dropping and heaving up anchor service in anchorage areas and ports, docks, piers and buoy securing/leaving manoeuvres in the Turkish Straits,

c- Maneouvres of dropping, weighing and leaving anchor in anchorage areas of İzmir Bay and port.

d- In special situations: it includes all kind of pilotage services that will be given outside of the current jurisdiction by the permission of related authorities.


Today, there are approximately 500 VTS in 50 countries. VTS established in Turkish Straits is one of the biggest system when the length of service areas and receiver numbers (radar, CCTV and similars) are considered. TSVTS has taken its place among the best VTS in the world when this size, high quality and well educated personnel are combined. Directorate General of Coastal Safety actively participate to the works where international rules and standarts are determined as a member of IALA VTS Committee.

TSVTS has been very successful in safety of navigation, life, property and environment-which are main objectives- and in giving effective and compatible services. Navigational assistance service provided by TSVTS has been especially very effective over vessels passing through İstanbul and Çanakkle Straits and facing navigational danger.

Statistical data show that the maritime traffic efficiency is increased by the effective works of TSVTS pursuant to rules and by making no concession to. These results about comparative monthly vessels passage statistics between 2000-2006 in İstanbul-Çanakkale Straits have been arised from the accurate and effective traffic organization performed by TSVTS.

By the success and efficiency of the services provided by TSVTS, and positive effect to the safety of navigation in Turkish Straits showed us how much the VTS is important. Directorate General of Coastal Safety as TSVTS authority and operator of the system will continue to update its technological infrastructure and to educate periodically its operational personnel, and in addition to provide information properly to all users. In addition to this, cooperation and compliance of masters with VTS is very important to minimize the risk and to have safety of navigation at a maximum level.