• October 19, 2011

The International Maritime Organisation has said that it is active in relation to the siting of offshore wind farms in busy sea lanes.

In a response following a query from the Celtic League (see link)


the Maritime Safety Division says that whilst no specific guidance has been developed the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation has considered a proposal to establish an `Area to be Avoided’ in respect of a development of the English south coast.

The full text of the IMO response is set out below:

“11 October 2011

Dear Mr. Moffatt,

On behalf of the Secretary-General, I thank you for your letter of 1 October 2011 enquiring if IMO has developed any guidance notes in relation to the siting of offshore wind farms and the hazards to navigation which this might cause.

In this regard, I wish to advise you that as yet, no specific guidance has been developed by IMO in relation to the siting of offshore wind farms. However, there are existing guidelines and criteria for General Provisions on Ships’ Routeing (GPSR) (Resolution A.572(14), as amended). The purpose of ships’ routeing is to improve the safety of navigation in converging areas and in areas where the density of traffic is great or where freedom of movement of shipping is inhibited by restricted sea-room, the existence of obstructions to navigation, limited depths or unfavourable meteorological conditions. The GPSR outlines procedures and functions of IMO including responsibilities of Governments and recommended and compulsory practices.

You may also wish to note that the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation in June this year considered a proposal for the establishment of a new Area To Be Avoided to allow the development of adjoining wind farms in the vicinity of the Thornton and Bligh Banks in the English Channel. Subsequently, the Sub-Committee was informed that the original proposal should be revised by changing the proposed establishment of an Area To Be Avoided to a proposed Precautionary Area. This would not hamper the flow of traffic during the construction phase of the wind farms. It was further clarified that a revised proposal may be submitted in 2013 depending on the experience gained and how the construction of the wind farms progressed.

I hope that the above information is helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Hartmut Hesse
Senior Deputy Director
Maritime Safety Division”

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League:

Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912
M: 0044 (0)7787318666


The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.



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