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Shipping: Lanes

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the introduction of compulsory shipping lanes, running north to south and some 30 miles from the coast of Norway, has been endorsed by the International Maritime Organisation; and what is the Government's policy on this matter. [HL3489]

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has indeed approved a ships’ routeing system in international waters off the coast of northern Norway.

However, whereas the original Norwegian proposal was for one mandatory traffic separation scheme of 560 nautical miles between Vardø and Røst, I understand that Norway was invited to amend its proposal to eight smaller traffic separation schemes and seven recommended routes connecting them, and that this routeing measure was formally adopted by the IMO and is due to enter into force on 1 July 2007.

The Government recognise that, in the interests of safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment, it is accepted practice and consistent with the international law of the sea for traffic routeing measures adopted by the IMO to be established which may extend beyond the limits of a state’s territorial sea into international waters.