Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has submitted a proposal to extend the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the organization informed through their social media.
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.
When an area is approved as a particularly sensitive sea area, specific measures can be used to control the maritime activities in that area, such as routeing measures, strict application of MARPOL discharge and equipment requirements for ships.
The Torres Strait lies to the north and north east of Cape York and separates Australia and Papua New Guinea. It is about 90 nautical miles wide and 150 nautical miles long.
The Strait has biogeographical importance as it represents the meeting of two ocean systems – the Pacific Ocean (Coral Sea) to the east and the Indian Ocean (Arafura Sea) to the west.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi).