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Web alert: IMO new routing measures - Alaska's Aleutian Islands & Australia's Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve

31 July 2015

The Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO recently adopted new ship routing measures aimed at reducing the risk of marine casualties and related pollution from ships operating in the vicinity of Alaska’s Aleutian Island archipelago and the Australia's Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve.

On 13 July 2015, IMO published Circular SN.1/Circ.331, advising of the following:

  • two-way routes in the south-west Coral Sea;
  • an area to be avoided in the south-west Coral Sea; and
  • five areas to be avoided in the region of the Aleutian Islands.

The measures designate five areas to be avoided in the Aleutian Island region, which essentially create a buffer extending no more than approximately 50 miles from the shoreline. The ATBAs lie within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the United States.

For the south-west Coral Sea region, the area to be avoided and two-way shipping routes aim to reduce the risk of ship collisions and groundings by separating opposing traffic streams, whilst ensuring ships keep clear of reefs, shoals and islets in the sensitive marine environment.

These new routing measures will be implemented on 1 January 2016 and shipboard team involved with route planning and vessel navigation is recommended to take particular note of the new restrictions.

Related links for this web alert can be found on the right.