The national agencies responsible for navigation safety issues in the coastal countries of the Baltic Sea today in Copenhagen to consider and amend draft guidelines for determining ships’ safe under keel clearance in the region. Definitions of a ships safe under keel clearance, or the depth of water where a particular ship should normally operate, is ultimately at the responsibility of the master, even if several shipowners have company policies defining the safe depth of water.
of the draft Baltic Sea guidelines is to effectively ensure that a ship
maintains sufficient safe under keel clearance and safe draught during its
whole intended voyage, also in areas with restricted depth. Photo: Maritime
Office in Gdynia.
The purpose of the draft Baltic Sea guidelines under preparation by the HELCOM expert group is to provide the Contracting governments, masters, navigating officers and companies operating in the region with a joint framework, to effectively ensure that a ship maintains sufficient safe under keel clearance and safe draught during its whole intended voyage, also in areas with restricted depth.The draft guidelines on under keel clearance aim to enhance the efficiency of other measures on safety of navigation such as International Maritime Organization (IMO) routeing measures and recent re-surveys of main ship routes by the Hydrographic agencies of the Baltic Sea coastal countries. Based on the outcome, the meeting will decide on further work on the draft document.Since 1970s, several routeing measures in the Baltic Sea, established based on the 1974 Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), have been drafted and discussed within HELCOM, including its experts groups responsible for routeing and safety of navigation.Other issues to be considered by the Meeting include the outcome of the latest HELCOM annual report on ship accidents in the Baltic Sea in 2013, as well as the standing agenda point on recent regional developments around planned and existing IMO routeing measures.The fifth meeting of the HELCOM expert group on safety of navigation () will be chaired by Carsten Glenn Jensen, Denmark.. All documents will be public after the meeting.* * * Note for editorsThe HELCOM on Safety of Navigation is a sub-group of the HELCOM Maritime Group and works to improve the safety of navigation in the Baltic Sea region. It was established in 2011 and follows up the earlier work by the HELCOM expert working group on ship transits (HELCOM EWG TRANSIT (2001-2008).The Working Group of HELCOM, originally established in 1975, identifies and promotes actions to limit sea-based pollution and ways for safer navigation. It also works to ensure enforcement and harmonized implementation of international shipping regulations. Its sub-groups include the HELCOM-OSPAR Task Group on Water Management (regional dimensions of implementing the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention), Expert group on safety of , Working group for mutual exchange and deliveries of Automatic Identification System () data, and HELCOM Cooperation Platform on Port Reception Facilities (). The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, including operational and accidental pollution from ships, and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Established in 1980, HELCOM is legally the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention ratified by all the coastal countries and the EU. It brings together the governments of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russian Federation and Sweden as well as the European Union. * * * For more information, please contact: Hermanni Backer Professional Secretary for Maritime, Response and Maritime Spatial Planning HELCOM Tel: +358 46 8509199 Skype: helcom02 E-mail: hermanni.backer(at)helcom.fiJohanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi
Draft guidelines for determining ships’ safe under keel clearance are discussed today by the national agencies responsible for navigation safety issues in the coastal countries of the Baltic Sea.