Enacting Reliability: First Steps to Define Safety in the VTS Domain.
Paper in proceeding, 2010

Although the term maritime safety is widely used in the maritime industry, there is no exact definition of what it entails. An explorative study of the VTS domain has been conducted to approach the concept of maritime safety. Four VTS centres were visited and 16 VTS operators were interviewed and observed to derive insights in how maritime safety is constructed from the perspective of an operator. Further, definitions of maritime safety by central actors in the maritime domain have been investigated through a literature study and several interviews. The results indicate that there is no common definition of the term maritime safety. The organizations generally identify maritime safety as an overall goal or an umbrella term for measures such as traffic separation schemes or fairway design. In contrast to this, VTS operators consider maritime safety as a context-dependent condition that is shaped by their own actions. Risk and safety therefore are assessed based on situational factors, such as traffic density and geography, as well as on the individual experiences. We conclude that there is a gap concerning the understanding and definition of maritime safety between most of the central actors (regulators, administrative bodies etc.) and the VTS operators.

High reliability organisation (HRO)

Safety construction

Maritime safety

Vessel traffic service (VTS)


Gesa Praetorius

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Division of Maritime Operations

Karl Bruno

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology

Margareta Lützhöft

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Division of Maritime Operations

HPAS 2010, International Conference on Human Performance at Sea Proceedings

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

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