Navigation through a PSSA (Particularly Sensitive Sea Area) is prohibited for vessels over 50m in length. However, not everybody obeys the rules.
What the reporter told us:
While on watch, I noticed another large cruise ship clearly enter and sail for over an hour through the PSSA we were passing. The other ship’s AIS was on and identified the ship and showed her port of destination.
The reporter included a screen shot of the Radar/AIS clearly showing the reported ship transiting within the adjacent PSSA.
Screen shot of the Radar/AIS showing the reported ship transiting within the adjacent PSSA.
The reporter confirmed that he had not reported the matter to the local maritime authorities due to poor internet access. The reported vessel was nearly 300m long and it is possible that it was cutting a large corner off the transit to make an ETA, or to make up some earlier lost time. At the very least, it is poor attention to passage planning. Contravening the PSSA restrictions for commercial interests would seem particularly cynical. There is a reason for the restrictions on navigating within a PSSA.
According to the IMO website: A Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) is an area that needs special protection through action by IMO because of its significance for recognized ecological or socio-economic or scientific reasons, and which may be vulnerable to damage by international maritime activities…
There are 17 PSSAs in the world – including 3 extensions to the original Great Barrier Reef PSSA.
We would also add that, although by the time we received this report it was very much a historic event, we considered it important enough to forward the report to the appropriate maritime authorities for future reference.