Vessel Tracking and Tracing (VTT) of inland navigation vessels is an important component of the “River Information Services” (RIS), contributing to more safety and better efficiency of inland navigation. VTT supports on-board navigation, Vessel Traffic Management (VTM) from shore, calamity abatement, transport management, enforcement and waterway dues and port infrastructure charges. This information exchange is supported by Inland AIS (Automatic Identification System),a broadcast system based on the transmission of very high frequency radio signals between shipborne AIS stations (mobile stations) and shore AIS stations. Each type of transmission is standardised to be transmitted and received by Inland AIS equipment.

Pursuant to Resolution 2019-II-8 the principal missions of the temporary Working group for Vessel Tracking and Tracing (CESNI/TI/VTT) shall be:

  • to prepare proposals for the revision of the technical specifications for the Standard Vessel Tracking and Tracing (VTT Standard), as referred in CESNI’s multi-annual work programme for 2019-2021;

  • to provide advice regarding the proper implementation of the standards in the field of River Information Services (RIS), in particular as regards VTT;

  • to provide advice and analysis on standards in the field of RIS in particular as regards VTT.

The development tasks proposed to CESNI/TI/VTT for the period 2019-2021 are as follows:

  • to prepare a revision of the technical specifications for vessel tracking and tracing systems (VTT Standard, Edition 1.4);

  • to draft amendment to VTT Standard (VTT Standard, Edition 1.4);

  • to draft a proposal for a standard for AIS Application Specific Messages (ASM);

  • to draft a proposal for a standard for AIS Aids to Navigation Report Messages (AIS AtoN);

  • to draft an amendment to Test Standard Inland AIS.

VTT Standard

The technical specifications for vessel tracking and tracing systems (VTT Standard) are required in Directive 2005/44/EC on harmonised river information services on the EU’s inland waterways (hereinafter referred to as the RIS Directive), which refers to the four key technologies, including the vessel tracking and tracing systems (VTT Standard). The technical specifications were published with the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 2019/838 of 20 February 2019 amending Regulation (EC) No. 415/2007. These concern the technical specifications for vessel tracking and tracing systems referred to in Article 5 of Directive 2005/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on harmonised river information services (RIS) on inland waterways in the Community. In response to the need to update the specifications, the adoption and publication of revised specifications is foreseen for 2019.

Inland AIS is a cooperative system, therefore the efficiency and reliability of information transmitted and received depend on the standardisation of Inland AIS equipment. Both Standards and harmonised procedures are required to ensure the safe interoperability of Inland AIS equipment from various manufacturers.

The standardisation of tracking and tracing for inland navigation includes both the Standard and Test Standard of Inland AIS. These standards define:

  • functional and technical requirements for Inland AIS devices,

  • specification of AIS messages for the exchange of messages between Inland AIS devices via radio,

  • specification of AIS data sets for data exchange between Inland AIS devices and connected applications.

Vessel Tracking and tracing (VTT) of inland navigation supports onboard navigation, shore-based traffic monitoring as part of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and other tasks such as calamity abatement. Inland AIS (Automatic Identification System) is a standardised procedure for the automatic exchange of nautical data between ships and between ships and shore installations.

The latest in-force Regulation (EU) No. 2019/838 (Edition 1.3) of the VTT Standard has been published by the EU.

The in-force Edition 1.2 (valid until May 2020) of the VTT Standard is published by the following organisations: