Extensive New Changes in North Sea Shipping Routes

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 2, 2013

Moving navigation marks: Photo credit Rijkswaterstaat

Moving navigation marks: Photo credit Rijkswaterstaat

New routes and Traffic Separtation Schemes in the Dutch part of the North Sea came into force at midnight on 1, August 2013.

The Dutch part of the North Sea is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world. Moreover, it is now also being used more and more intensively for other purposes, such as wind energy, nature protection and sand extraction. In order to keep the waterways safe for maritime traffic and to ensure a more efficient use of the available space, it has been decided to adapt the shipping routes. The main changes are:

  • a new Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) − already in force in Rotterdam − is introduced in the approaches to IJmuiden. This will ensure that vessels sailing in opposite directions have their own sea lanes.
  • the routes are located farther from the coast
  • the routes intersect each other less often
  • anchorage areas are relocated or abolished
  • the space around objects (platforms, etc.) are configured differently
  • areas to be avoided’ and ‘precautionary areas’ are introduced. Vessels will no longer be allowed to sail in ‘areas to be avoided’, while vessels sailing in ‘precautionary areas’ will be explicitly advised to navigate carefully.

For several days after the new routes have come into effect the government will deploy extra vessels (Emergency Towing Vessels (ETV)) and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) to supervise maritime traffic and, where necessary, lend assistance. In addition, a Coastguard aircraft, a helicopter and the Arca (equipped with anti-pollutant materials) will be on standby should assistance be required.
Detail & chartlets at: http://www.rws.nl/images/New%20shipping%20routes%20North%20Sea%201st%20august_tcm174-339361.pdf (But official publications should be referred to).

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