Aug 2, 2012

Creation of new Shipping Fairways off WA coast

Today I announce the creation of a network of Shipping Fairways off the north-west coast of Australia designed to improve the safe movement of ships in the area and protect our precious marine environment.

Commercial shipping is vital to our economy and with industrial and mining activity on the increase in Western Australia, so too is shipping.

For busy shipping routes, it’s important we continue to increase navigational safety and reduce the risk of ship groundings and collisions.

That is exactly what the new network of Shipping Fairways will do. Together, they will reduce the risk of collision by directing large vessels such as bulk carriers and LNG ships into pre-defined routes to keep them clear of offshore infrastructure such as oil and gas rigs.

A collision in this area could potentially result in a loss of life or damage to our pristine marine environment.

The new Shipping Fairways are based on similar ship routeing arrangements in Australia and overseas that have proven successful in reducing the risk of collision.

Today’s announcement builds on this Government’s record of ensuring that the laws and other arrangements that protect Australia’s precious marine environment are up to date and remain in step with international developments.

With an expected doubling of shipping activity by 2020 we are planning for the future while protecting what we have today.

Since 2007, we have expanded the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service (REEFVTS), established North East Shipping Management Group and proposed greater protections around Ningaloo Reef – all measures designed to provide a safe passage for ships and protect and preserve our precious marine environment.

Vessels will begin to use the Shipping Fairways when electronic and paper navigational charts are progressively updated from August 2012 onwards.

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