WWF demands division of navigation lanes for entire Baltic Sea fairway
"Additional safety measures required for oil spill damage prevention"
As oil tankers ply the Baltic Sea route in ever-increasing numbers, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is insisting on extending the maritime traffic control and navigation lanes systems first introduced in the Gulf of Finland to cover the southern Baltic Sea region as well.
According to WWF Finland marine expert Anita Mäkinen, the Baltic region countries should take into account the nature conservation requirements when assessing the routing of ship traffic lanes in the Baltic Sea.
Furthermore, a compulsory piloting system is needed in the Danish narrows.
In Mäkinen's view, additional sea traffic safety measures are needed in order to prevent oil spill incidents in the delicate sea area, where transporting of oil has increased rapidly in recent years.
In 1995, 22 million tons of oil was shipped through the Gulf of Finland, whereas now the corresponding figure is 90 million tons per year.
In April, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) declared the Baltic Sea, apart from the Russian territorial waters, as a one of ten Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA).
The Baltic region countries will assemble in Stockholm in September to discuss whether additional safety regulations should be introduced in conjunction with the PSSA status.
Jorma Kämäräinen of the Finnish Maritime Administration believes the Baltic countries will end up proposing a traffic lane system for the southern Baltic Sea in the same fashion as has been realised in the Gulf of Finland area.
In Kämäräinen's view, stipulating additional safety regulations is an obligation the countries around the Baltic Sea committed themselves to when the IMO gave the Baltic Sea PSSA status in the spring.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Oil transport risks high on agenda of Baltic States Council meeting (22.6.2004)
New Russian oil terminal opens in Vysotsk, near Vyborg (18.6.2004)
Finland getting tough with oil spills (29.4.2004)
IMO declares Baltic Sea particularly sensitive (5.4.2004)
Construction of new oil terminal in Vysotsk proceeding rapidly (15.9.2003)
Finnish Maritime Administration Vessel Traffic Management