Welcome to the website of Shipping Assistance Division

Important information for Zelzate Bridge:

There are no bridge openings for vessel movements:

  • during the working week from 07:40 until 08:00 and from 16:40 until 17:00;
  • in case of visibility less than 250m;
  • in case of strong winds, 9 Bft or more, direction South, South-West of West.


On our website you will find more information about the different services we offer to shipping traffic. Our main task is to ensure safe and efficient shipping to and from the ports in Flanders and Zeeland. We do this by monitoring and directing shipping traffic visually, auditively and electronically from the moment they cross the French-Belgian border. This monitoring system is called VTS, Vessel Traffic Services.

VTS should not be compared to pilotage services, since ‘the pilot controls the vessel and VTS controls the space’. The Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Ostend is the central contact and coordination centre when an incident occurs at sea.


Shipping Assistance Division performs following tasks:

  • to ensure safe and efficient shipping on the maritime access routes to and from Flemish sea ports by providing Vessel Traffic Services (VTS);
  • to manage and to run the Scheldt Radar Network (SRK);
  • to ensure the Joint Nautical Management (JNM) together with the Netherlands;
  • to support and to coordinate rescue and tugging operations at sea in the capacity of SAR (Search and Rescue) authority out of the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Ostend;
  • to manage and to follow-up agreements with relation to the Ports Decree between the Flemish District and the four Flemish Harbour Master Services;
  • to put the necessary information and technology at the disposal of the pilotage services so that they can render shore based pilotage.

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