The Organic Act No. 18398 and the Navigation Act No. 20094 designate Prefectura Naval Argentina (Argentine Coast Guard) as the Competent Authority responsible for the efficiency of vessel traffic services, and bestow the Institution with the status of Safety of Navigation Police and Public Order Enforcement Agency, as well as the authority in charge of Navigation Administrative Affairs in national ports, interior waters and maritime areas under national jurisdiction. Besides, its responsibilities are framed within international conventions ratified by Argentina, for example SOLAS, through which Prefectura Naval Argentina, in behalf of the Argentine State, affirmed its commitment as Coastal State, Flag State and Port State. In line with these commitments and, more specifically, with the faculties granted by SOLAS Regulation V/XII and Res. A.857(20) IMO, Prefectura Naval Argentina is the authority responsible for the management, operation and co-ordination of the VTS interaction with participating vessels and the safe and effective provision of the service.
Within the organizational structure of Prefectura Naval Argentina, the Vessel Traffic Services Division, under the Operations Directorate, manages, conducts and supervises the operation of the VTS Centers that carry out the operational procedures oriented to improve the safety and efficiency of vessel flow, to prevent the development of dangerous maritime traffic situations and the protection of the environment from possible adverse effects of vessel activities.
In terms of regulations and standards, Prefectura Naval Argentina supports its operational procedures through the enforcement and issue of directives, notices, and regulations regarding navigational safety, and an inspection regime to ensure vessels, passengers, mariners and VTS users comply with national and international requirements.
To foster the safety of sports vessels and cruise ships engaged in transoceanic voyages that sail from or visit national ports and their passengers, Prefectura Naval Argentina promotes preventive measures and provides all the operational means necessary to fulfill its commitment with the preservation of life at the sea and the environment. With this commitment in mind, the Institution also collaborates in the organization nautical sports events conducted in jurisdictional waters.
The variety of scenarios presented to our VTS Centers is not limited to port areas with intense vessel traffic and cargo movements only. Argentina has a large river area, namely Paraguay-Paraná Waterway and the Main Pathway Santa Fe-Atlantic Ocean, that constitutes one of the principal regional development hubs for the import/export of grains, cereals and sub-products.
Besides the traditional vessel traffic services, such as information services or vessel tracking and control, our VTS Centers also:
• constantly monitor the EEZ to prevent and control illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing;
• act as a point of response in case of navigation incidents and casualties that may result in pollution from vessels;
• actively participate in their capacity as designated SAR sub-center in the coordination, response and unit deployment to assist people or vessels in distress;
• provide Maritime Telemedical Assistance Services to help mariners that require assistance of medical aid or medical evacuation;
• serve as liaison point with other entities or stakeholders related to maritime activities and the shipping industry.
In the constant pursuit of excellence and quality of service, pillars of our institutional mission, and to adapt all our resources to the international demands and trends, Prefectura Naval Argentina has developed a comprehensive academic programme open to our personnel and to members of foreign Maritime Authorities; keeps up with the latest developments in communications and technology; and monitors very closely the services provided by our VTS Centers and operational units to continuously improve and enhance our service capacity.
This approach led our Institution to adhere to a principle of strategic integration and close collaboration with other countries; which, in turn, has opened the possibility for our professionals to offer training courses abroad, provide consultant services and guidance to other institutions in technical matters for the establishment and modernization of their VTS systems, an assistance for the IMO Member State Audit Scheme.