Tuesday , December 6 2022

Two ships at Saba Bank fined

The Daily Herald reports that Dutch Caribbean Coastguard issued two fines to ships this week for trespassing on Saba Bank.
As of June 1, 2013, this area has been designated as a particularly sensitive sea area and it is considered illegal for a ship weighing more than 300 gross tons to pass, or for any ship to anchor there.
On Tuesday, the Coast Guard detected freight ships Midnight River and Cassiopeia Bulker on the Saba Bank. Upon further investigation, it was noted that neither one of the ships had an exemption on the provisions of Article 4 of the Regulation on the Designation Saba Bank, which prohibits ships larger than 300 tons to sail into Saba Bank. Despite several warnings from the Rescue and Coordination Centre (RCC) on Curaçao that they were trespassing a prohibited area, the vessels continued with their passage. In the National Decree containing general measures (2010, No. 94) of September 30, 2010, and subsequently Regulation Nr. 20424 of December 21, 2010, Saba Bank was designated a protected area. The decision prohibits anchoring of tankers and other vessels within the protected area, both in territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone.
Exceptions are hydro graphic-survey vessels, storage vessels, vessels that are used for search and rescue, as well as fishing boats with a valid fishing license for any part of Saba Bank, provided they are registered on Saba, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius.
It is deemed necessary to protect Saba Bank to benefit sustainable fisheries and protect biodiversity. The rich biodiversity of Saba Bank must be secured, not only from the perspective of Saba and Statia, but also given the regional importance of the Bank, which is a major source of recruitment of fish, lobster and conch populations to the surrounding islands.
It is the task of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard to enforce this law in this area. Large anchors destroy corals and sponges and anything else on the bottom, and ships passing over the Bank often tear off the marker buoys of the lobster traps of Saba fishermen, causing the loss of these traps, which then keep on fishing as ghost traps, depleting the fish populations.

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