Ports and Traffic Management Solutions

Case Study: Sabetta VTS

Because of the extreme weather condition it operates in, the YAMAL LNG project in Sabetta Seaport on the Russian side of the Arctic required a robust and precise navigation system to perform even under the low visibility and adverse weather conditions.


The Arctic route remains extremely challenging to navigate through due to: extreme temperatures (up to -52°C), restricted visibility, heavy icing, high latitudes, electromagnetic disturbances (mists, snow squalls),  50 km long narrow channel outside VTS sensors coverage, lack of shore-based infrastructure for LNG tankers, difficulties with establishment and maintenance of AtoNs (AIS as a Virtual Aid to Navigation).

A very narrow channel (295 m wide, 50 km long) and a short distance from the to the shoreline (less than 12 miles) creates certain risks of grounding for LNG tankers (length of the designed vessels to carry natural gas and NGLs is about 300 m, draft of 12 m, a width of 50 m).


To ensure a more precise and safer mode of navigation, Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions (at that time, Transas) installed and equipped a control centre and a radio tower, as well as two remote radio towers on the shore of the Gulf of Ob. The towers are part of the system that keeps track of vessels, ensures safe navigation and prevents collisions. The control centre includes software that is capable of automatically exchanging information directly with vessels. LNG tankers operating in Sabetta are equipped with Wärtsilä × Transas-integrated bridges, allowing data to transfer automatically between the vessel and the control centre.


Vessel traffic systems provided by Wärtsilä x Transas  VTS Control Centre GMDSS A1A2 Control Centre  3 remote autonomous sites  Radar processors 2 AIS 2 VTS VHF communication control system integrated with VTS CCTV Cameras Dedicated e-navigation features of the solutions  Standard VTS functions including virtual AtoN Standard GMDSS A1A2 functions (DSC and voice calls on MF/HF/VHF)  Ice charts and SAT imagery data layers on VTS workstation  LRIT and SAT AIS data layers Automated data exchange with vessels, including: VTS targets, weather data, ice-fields borders, any polygon areas, pilot boarding point, tracks of icebreakers, chat with vessel, SAR patterns, continuous recording of vessel position even if vessel is outside of VTS coverage. Today port Sabetta is the busiest port along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and identified by the Russian Government as a project of strategic importance for the development of gas-rich Yamal Peninsula. In 2018 Sabetta cargo volumes increased y-o-y by 30 percent to 17.4 million tons.

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