Vessel Traffic Control Center
Curaçao has a fully-equipped control tower called the Vessel Traffic Control Center (VTCC), which plans and coordinates all vessel traffic within the ports of Curaçao. Perched atop the Sablika Hill in its commanding post at the historical Fort Nassau, no vessel can enter any Curaçao port without the VTCC’s permission, guidance and assistance.
The VTCC is the central hub of all harbor and port activity in Curaçao and is responsible for a myriad of important details ranging from reserving a quay for berthing, to contacting emergency teams when needed. The VTCC is a pivotal key to the successful functioning of the Curaçao Ports Authority (CPA) and its legacy of efficiency, safety, quality and reliability; they can be contacted via the CPO offices.
In general berthing requests are submitted by shipping agents acting on behalf of their client lines. The VTCC planner keys in all berthing requests in the computerized system and assigns wharves and jetties. Almost all parties involved have access to the online system and use it to plan ahead to optimize the efficiency of the ports. This eliminates a great deal of verbal communication and avoids human error, thereby optimizing the process.
The VTCC’s software registers a vast array of data on any berth, including the name of the ship, its agent, estimated arrival and departure times, tonnage, type of call (e.g. cruise, bunkering or repair), wharf and the number of tugs requested. From the time of receiving the berthing request to the time the vessel has left our port, this data changes continuously. Each change is registered meticulously and a Planned Harbor Traffic Report is posted on-line and available for other ‘departments’ to see. On the day the ship is supposed to call in, this list is still changing, as times of arrival vary and plans often change.
Working 24/7, the VTCC-team makes use of modern tools such as an AIS-live system, a semi-automated invoicing system, a voice recording system and on-line data entry, which is updated at all times. The VTCC has been operating according to the ISO standards since the beginning of 1999.