Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Scheme

The AMSA report (2009), which focused on marine safety and marine environmental protection – consistent with the Arctic Council’s mandate of environmental protection and sustainable development, developed recommendations to provide a guide for future action by the Arctic Council, Arctic states and many others.

AMSA Recommendation III(A) provides:

That the Arctic states should recognize that improvements in Arctic marine infrastructure are needed to enhance safety and environmental protection in support of sustainable development. Examples of infrastructure where critical improvements are needed include: ice navigation training; navigational charts; communications systems; port services, including reception facilities for ship-generated waste; accurate and timely ice information (ice centers); places of refuge; and icebreakers to assist in response.


In 2012 the United States offered to submit a report to PAME to educate member governments on the International Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) Scheme and how it supports AMSA Recommendation III (A) and other PAME strategic goals.

The VOS Scheme is an international program comprising member countries of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that recruit ships to take, record and transmit marine meteorological and oceanographic observations while at sea.

All eight Arctic Council member governments participate in the VOS Scheme either directly, by providing ships to the program, or indirectly by providing funding and/or data.


US Report on the VOS Scheme   

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