New Traffic Separation Schemes off Western Australia from December

Two new Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) will come into effect off the south-west coast of Western Australia on 1 December 2016.

The two schemes, off Cape Leeuwin and Chatham Island, are to be introduced with the aim to increase navigational safety by reducing the number of head-on situations and improve environmental protection by keeping ships away from the coastline, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

A TSS separates opposing streams of traffic by establishing traffic lanes and separation zones.

Australia’s proposal to establish the two schemes was approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) earlier this year and adopted by its Maritime Safety Committee in May.

AMSA’s proposal stemmed from shipping traffic data which raised concerns about ships on reciprocal courses and navigating close to the coastline.

With around 6,500 unique voyages made through this area every two years (around nine ships per day), the schemes are said to improve safety. There will be no increase in typical voyages distances for ships traversing this area, AMSA said.