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Coastal pilotage in environmentally fragile areas

Mandatory coastal pilotage is a protective measure used in environmentally fragile or areas potentially hazardous to navigation.

The environmental and cultural significance of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait regions is recognised around the world.

Mandatory coastal pilotage in key areas

The Great Barrier Reef marine park was established in 1975 and added to the World Heritage list in 1981.

In 1990, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) designated the Great Barrier Reef as the world’s first particularly sensitive sea area (PSSA). The IMO extended the existing Great Barrier Reef PSSA to include the Torres Strait in 2005.

These PSSA are frequently very narrow and/or shallow, confined by many charted dangers, and strongly influenced by tides and tidal streams. In these regions all but the smallest vessels are confined to a few well defined routes.

The Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef are used by a wide variety of vessels including:

  • large tankers
  • container ships
  • bulk carriers
  • cruise ships
  • traditional fishing boats
  • large, commercial fishing trawlers
  • pleasure craft.

The Australian Government is committed to providing measures to protect the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait region. Mandatory coastal pilotage in key areas is one of these measures.

Related information

Last updated: 

Friday 14 December 2018