Applicability: shipowners, ship operators, ship managers and ship masters.

To protect cetaceans from international shipping, a particularly sensitive sea area in the North-West Mediterranean Sea has come into effect. This designation includes recommended protective measures intended for commercial ships and pleasure yachts of 300GT and above.

The North-Western Mediterranean Sea Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (NW Med PSSA) is located between the coastline of France, Italy, Monaco and Spain and is defined by a line encompassing the following coordinates:

A 38° 39' 59.379" N 000° 6'0.000" E
B 38° 39' 59.379" N 000° 47' 59.476" E
C 38° 50' 03.331" N 001° 00' 00.398" E
D 39° 19' 01.812" N 001° 00' 25.212" E
E 39° 28' 42.075" N 001° 40' 02.495" E
F 39° 51' 21.986" N 002° 16' 09.853" E
G 40° 34' 13.067" N 004° 04' 31.926" E
H 40° 58' 0.000" N 008° 12'0.000" E
I 41° 09' 10.800" N 009° 31'10.800" E
J 42° 21' 14.400" N 011° 31'0.000" E

Note: from H (Falcoe Cape) to I (Ferro Cape), the south boundary follows the coastline of Sardinia. Coordinates are provided by the WGS84 datum. 

This area encompasses the existing Spanish "Mediterranean Cetacean Migration Corridor" and the Pelagos Sanctuary.

Mediterranean PSSA
Figure 1 Boundary of the North-Western Mediterranean PSSA

Any commercial ships and pleasure yachts of 300GT and above are recommended to apply the following associated protective measures when transiting through the NW Med PSSA: 

  • Navigate with particular caution within the NW Med PSSA, in areas where large and medium cetaceans are detected or reported and reduce speed to between 10 and 13 knots as voluntary speed reduction (VSR). However, a safe speed should be kept, so that proper and effective action could be taken to avoid collision and any possible negative impacts on the ship's manoeuvrability.

  • Keep an appropriate safety distance or speed reduction measure from any large and medium cetaceans observed or detected in close quarter situation. The safety distance or speed reduction measure should be adapted to the actual navigation circumstances and conditions of the ship.

  • Broadcast on VHF or other available means on scene, the position of medium and large cetaceans observed or detected within the designated NW Med PSSA and transmit the information and the position to a designated coastal Authority or Authorities.

  • Report any collision with cetaceans to a designated coastal Authority or Authorities, which should forward this information to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) global cetacean ship strikes database.

OneOceanLR support – a complete solution helping you stay compliant

The OneOcean Environmental Compliance module, also known as EnviroManager, is a simple, user-friendly solution that allows personnel ship and on shore to stay fully informed of all environmental regulations. This PSSA voluntary speed reduction is now in EnviroManager for use within its voyage planning and alerts capability.

For further information, please contact

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