Ma Wan Marine Traffic Control System

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Role of the Ma Wan Marine Traffic Control System

The Ma Wan Marine Traffic Control System was set up to optimise the safe transit of vessels around Ma Wan by harmonising the movements of ocean-going vessels and small craft in the area (PDF) through an active vessel traffic management and control scheme.

Restriction on Small Craft

To facilitate safe passage of vessels through the Ma Wan Fairway, movements of local craft and river trade vessels will be temporarily restricted by means of signal lights, Very High Frequency radio (VHF) communications and the patrol launch at scene when large vessels, deep draught vessels, hampered vessels, vessels carrying specified categories of dangerous goods or other special craft are about to transit the area. 

The Signal Lights

A total of 3 signal masts are erected at the 2 ends of the Ma Wan Fairway to give warnings of restricted movement through the area:

The signal masts at Ha Pang and the northwest of Ma Wan Island provide warning to vessels approaching from the west.

The signal mast at Hoi Mei Wan provides warning to vessels approaching from the east and the south.

When the appropriate signal mast(s) shows the warning signal, which is three red lights in a vertical line occulting every 8 seconds (5 seconds on and 3 seconds off), vessels that are restricted for movement should wait in the designated Waiting Area(s) (PDF) until the warning signal is turned off.


Identified by call sign MARDEP, the Ma Wan Marine Traffic Control system operates on VHF Channel 14. It will give warnings to approaching vessels on this frequency and, if necessary, by other available means including the patrol launch at scene. Vessels equipped with VHF should keep a listening watch on VHF Channel 14 when transiting this area.

Closure of Ma Wan Fairway

Under exceptional circumstances, e.g. due to major works being carried out within the area or as a result of a serious incident, a complete closure of the Ma Wan Fairway may be necessary. A closure due to major works will usually be promulgated by a Notice to Mariners and a Marine Department Notice to give advance notice to the concerned parties. In addition, navigational warnings will be either broadcast on VHF Channels 02, 12, 14, 63 and 67 or otherwise on Channel 20 to alert vessels of the time of closure and the anticipated duration. The signal lights will be shown during the closure.


For enquiries, please contact Hong Kong Vessel Traffic Centre at (852)2233-7801.