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About London VTS

VTS Area (click on image to enlarge)VTS Area

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.


VTS Sectors (click on image to enlarge)VTS Sectors

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.

Port Control Centre (click on image to enlarge)Port Control Centre

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.

VTS Equipment (Click on image to enlarge)VTS Equipment

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

VTS Workstation (click on image to enlarge)VTS Workstation

All of the surveillance data is fused to provide VTS personnel a live and resilient traffic image.



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.

VTS Management

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).

Find out more about the work of the SMS Team here.



VTS Operations Manager - Tony Guy

Tony supports the Harbour Master (SMS & VTS) in maintaining navigational safety within the port in accordance with the requirements of the Port Marine Safety Code by ensuring the overall effective operational management of London VTS and delivery of VTS services. 

VTS Administrative Officer - Emma Apps

Emma plays a key role in supporting the VTS management team, including booking of training courses and other regular administrative duties. 
Contacting London VTS:
Operational enquiries should be referred to the relevant VTS Centre:

Port Control Centre – for matters to the east of Crayfordness

+44(0)1474 560311

Thames Barrier Navigation Centre – for matters to the west of Crayfordness

+44(0)203 2607711
Simon Phillips - Harbour Master (VTS & SMS) - 01474 562211
Tony Guy - VTS Operations Manager - 01474 562 249
Emma Apps - VTS Administrative Officer - 01474 562 272

Data Protection

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.