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Credit: A.Gerdes

Credit: C. Kaiser
Bremen / Husum, Germany - 15 December 2000
Save the Wadden Sea – avert black tides!

Statistics suggest that the Wadden Sea could be knocked out by a major oil spill all of a sudden. In 1998, the fuel oil spillage caused by the stranded cargo vessel Pallas gave a bitter foretaste: thousands of seabirds and waterfowl were killed or contaminated. What if ... an oil tanker sailing the busy shipping lanes of the German Bight went down the same road? Experts fear that a large black tide would suffocate the Wadden Sea’s vulnerable mud flats, sandbanks and saltmarshes and make the ecosystem collapse.

Spurred by further concerns arising from the Erika disaster in Brittany (1999) WWF went to action: as a key step to mitigate environmental risks from shipping in the ecoregion, WWF urges governments to designate the Wadden Sea and adjacent waters as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) according to the guidelines of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

WWF‘s new report Protection of the Wadden Sea from ship accidents through the establishment of a "PSSA Wadden Sea" serves as a comprehensive technical proposal. It provides a general definition and description of PSSAs and outlines the geographic delimitations needed for the surveillance, intervention and protection area (zoning) in the case of the Wadden Sea. As a next step, detailed proposals for concrete measures such as PSSA control centre, information log file, pilotage, escorting, emergency towing, safe haven, emergency response vessels and the transfer of shipping routes are presented.

WWF’s proposal for a PSSA Wadden Sea is being presented in the run up to the 9th Ministerial Wadden Sea Conference (Esbjerg, Denmark, October 2001) and the 5th North Sea Ministerial Conference (Bergen, Norway, March 2002).

Download the full report as PDF file (1,4 MB)