Marine technology company Wartsila has received a contract to upgrade an 11-year old Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System (VTMIS) at Cyprus ports.

The order was placed by the Shipping Deputy Ministry to the President of Cyprus in November last year.

The contract also includes a five-year equipment maintenance agreement.

Following the system upgrade, Cyprus VTMIS is expected to become a vital point of contact and will be capable of transferring information with the other systems.

In a wider scenario, it will boost safety, prevent illegal immigration and smuggling, increase environmental protection services and facilitate coastal surveillance and traffic monitoring.

The system is also expected to aid the search and rescue operations and increase the overall operational efficiency of the ports in the region.

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Wartsila Marine commercial project manager Valentin Roslyakov said: “The Wartsila system has been in successful operation since 2008 and will now be upgraded to feature the latest innovations in efficient vessel traffic management.

“The new system will be based on the dedicated Wartsila Navi-Harbour system software and will deliver a multitude of benefits.”

Port and Coastal State Directorate Maritime Surveillance and Anti-pollution Unit head Themis Evriviades said: “Cyprus is strategically located in the north-eastern corner of the Mediterranean basin at the intersection of major international and regional shipping lanes. Such a location has made the Cyprus ports a natural place of call for vessels sailing in and out of the Mediterranean region.

“Efficient vessel traffic monitoring and information is, therefore, extremely important for safety and a number of other reasons, which is why we are working closely with Wartsila. The main efforts of the Government of Cyprus are focused on continuous improvement of the existing maritime infrastructure.”