IMO's Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) agreed to establish two-way routes, precautionary areas and areas to be avoided in the Bering Sea and Bering Strait.
The six two-way routes and six precautionary areas, to be voluntary for or all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above, in the Bering Sea and Bering Strait off the coast of the Chukotskiy Peninsula and Alaska, were proposed by the Russian Federation and the US. These waters are expected to see increased traffic due to rising economic activity in the Arctic.
Furthermore, the Sub-Committee will establish three areas to be avoided in the Bering Sea, proposed by the US, to improve safety of navigation and protect the fragile and unique environment.
The proposed measures will be forwarded to IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) 99th session in May, for adoption.
The Sub-Committee also approved the following new and amended ships' routeing measures, for submission to the MSC for adoption:
- Traffic separation scheme and other routeing measures In Dangan Channel (China);
- Traffic separation schemes and other routeing measures In the vicinity of Kattegat (Denmark and Sweden); and
- Area to be avoided Off the coast of Ghana in the Atlantic Ocean (an amendment) (Ghana).