Philippines Pushes for Designation of Tubbataha Reefs as Sensitive AreaNewsroom
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) endorsed recently the Philippines’ application to designate the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and World Heritage Site as a particular sensitive sea area.
The Philippines is proposing the Tubbataha park to be an “Area To Be Avoided” by ships and other watercraft over 150 gross tons plying the area. Gilberto Asuque, permanent representative to the IMO, submitted the application at the plenary meeting of the 69th session of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee held at the IMO headquarters in London on April 20. The application will be endorsed to the Maritime Safety Committee for consideration and approval of protective measures to be implemented in the Tubbataha park.
The measures are designed to further protect Tubbataha from the hazards of international shipping. The Maritime Safety Committee and the Marine Environment Protection Committee are expected to approve the designation and suggested navigation routes by early 2017.
The Philippines decided to designate the Tubbataha park as a particular sensitive sea area to protect the biodiversity and ecological sensitivity of the area from the threats of international shipping.
Tubbataha park is located in the Sulu Sea, approximately 80 nautical miles from Palawan. The park is a living laboratory for the study of marine ecological processes and climate change adaptation. It lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the richest biogeographic region in the world.
Tubbataha park encompasses an area comprised of a 97,030-hectare “Core Zone” and a 350,000-hectare “Buffer Zone” surrounding it. In 1993, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was also listed in 1999 in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
(Story courtesy of Philstar.com)