No Anchoring Area

Lindy S Johnson Lindy.S.Johnson at
Tue Sep 11 08:20:21 EDT 2001

[Note: this was forwarded to coral-list as follow-up to original post]

Mr. Hodgson--Hello!  My name is Lindy Johnson and I work with NOAA
General Counsel's Office of International Law.  I would like to provide
you some information regarding your email on no anchoring areas.  I'm
not sure if this directly responds to your request since your question
appears to be aimed more at the marking of such an area with buoys and
the type of buoys to be used rather than the actual establishment of the
area.  Therefore, if it is a type of buoy you are looking for, this
information may not be relevant.  I do not know whether there is any
type of buoy that enjoys international recognition, I have copied some
other folks on this email who may have a better idea about that issue.

I am unclear from your email as to what type of vessel is actually
causing the damage to your coral, whether it is from small boats or from
large, commercial ships.  If the damage is being caused by small ships,
it sounds as if you need advice from someone on the types of buoys to
put in to mark it.  As I said above, if this is the case, it is not my
area, so I will defer that question to others.  You may also want to
consider setting up mooring buoys in or beyond the no anchoring area to
facilitate compliance with the prohibition. By the way, there was a
speech on anchor damage given at the recent Coral Reef Symposium by
Dinsdale E., Dinesen Z, Selecting Indicators to Assess Strategies to
Control Anchor Damage on Fringing Reefs in the Whitsunday Region, Great
Barrier Reef". You may want to check the proceedings to see if they
submitted a paper and contact them.

If the damage is being caused by large, commercial ships then you could
also submit a proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
to establish a "no anchoring area".  IMO is a Specialized Agency of the
United Nations that addresses international shipping issues.  The
ability to establish such areas was just created by IMO in December
2000.  Such areas may, after submission to IMO, be established by a
country in areas where anchoring is unsafe, unstable, or particularly
hazardous or where anchoring could result in unacceptable damage to the
marine environment. Although you could establish a no anchoring area in
this bay purely as a
matter of domestic law without going to IMO, IMO adoption of such an
anchoring area will assist ships steer clear of these areas by requiring
that all countries producing charts for international navigation mark
such areas on their charts.  The no anchoring area measure focuses on
prevention, instead of enforcement and liability after the damage has
already occurred.  There is an international symbol to mark such areas
on charts which has been developed by the International Hydrographic
Office; generally speaking, this symbol is an anchor with an X through
it. Finally, NOAA has agreed to act as lead country in preparing a
guidance document for countries that will eventually be put up on the
ICRI website on how to submit such a proposal to IMO.  We are in the
process of developing the first draft of that document now.  If this is
the mechanism that seems most appropriate, please let me know and we can
talk further about it.

I hope this information is useful to you.  If you have any further
questions for me, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Lindy S. Johnson

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