WMO-IMO Consultative Meeting on Voluntary Observing Ships

INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO were invited to a World Meteorological Organization (WMO)-International Maritime Organization (IMO) Consultative Meeting held this week at the WMO Headquarters in Geneva.


The meeting was dominated by security-related concerns regarding the current availability of the positions of VOS (Voluntary Observing Ships) on public websites in connection with weather observations, which in turn was felt could be the cause for the decline in the number of vessels willing to undertake such observations.  


A Voluntary Observing Ship is a vessel that undertakes regular meteorological observations at sea which are submitted to shore weather stations. These reports provide very valuable information, used in the production of weather forecasts, ice locations and sea and temperature data, which would otherwise not be available.


The INTERTANKO/INTERCARGO representatives stated that the two associations welcomed and appreciated the WMO efforts to address the security concerns regarding public access to the real time positions of VOS ships. It was emphasised that such information in the public domain greatly undermines the efforts of the shipping industry in implementing and complying with the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code). 


It was also said that as providers of VOS information, and also end-users of the collated information, INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO would continue to support the work of WMO and encourage our members to participate in the VOS system.


Please refer to the IMO circular MSC/Circ.1017 for more information on participation in  the VOS system. For additional information, members may either contact the relevant flag state or the Secretariats of either INTERTANKO or INTERCARGO.


Contact: Xianyong Zhou or Howard Snaith