The 80th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 3-7 July 2023, agreed to designate a particular sensitive sea area in the North-Western Mediterranean Sea (NW Med PSSA) to protect cetaceans from international shipping.
his area encompasses the existing Spanish “Mediterranean Cetacean Migration Corridor” and the Pelagos Sanctuary. The North-Western Mediterranean Sea Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (NW Med PSSA) is located between the coastline of France, Italy, Monaco and Spain and is defined by a line encompassing the following coordinates:
A 38° 39′ 59.379″ N 000° 6’0.000″ E
B 38° 39′ 59.379″ N 000° 47′ 59.476″ E
C 38° 50′ 03.331″ N 001° 00′ 00.398″ E
D 39° 19′ 01.812″ N 001° 00′ 25.212″ E
E 39° 28′ 42.075″ N 001° 40′ 02.495″ E
F 39° 51′ 21.986″ N 002° 16′ 09.853″ E
G 40° 34′ 13.067″ N 004° 04′ 31.926″ E
H 40° 58′ 0.000″ N 008° 12’0.000″ E
I 41° 09′ 10.800″ N 009° 31’10.800″ E
J 42° 21′ 14.400″ N 011° 31’0.000″ E
Note: from H (Falcoe Cape) to I (Ferro Cape), the south boundary follows the coastline of Sardinia.
The designation includes associated protective measures (APMs), which are recommendatory in nature and intended to be by any commercial ships and pleasure yachts from 300 gross tonnage and upwards:
- Mariners should navigate with particular caution within the NW Med PSSA, in areas where large and medium cetaceans are detected or reported, and reduce their speed to between 10 and 13 knots as voluntary speed reduction (VSR). However, a safe speed should be kept, so that proper and effective action could be taken to avoid collision and any possible negative impacts on ship’s manoeuvrability.
- Mariners should keep an appropriate safety distance or speed reduction measure from any large and medium cetaceans observed or detected in close quarter situation. The safety distance or speed reduction measure should be adapted to the actual navigation circumstances and conditions of the ship.
- Mariners should broadcast on VHF or other available means on scene, the position of medium and large cetaceans observed or detected within the designated PSSA and transmit the information and the position to a designated coastal Authority(ies).
- Mariners should report any collision with cetaceans to a designated coastal Authority(ies), which should forward this information to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) global cetacean ship strikes database.