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WWF pushes for stricter maritime safety standards

October 6, 2006

By Blanche Rivera
Inquirer, Oct. 05, 2006

IT MAY BE rough sailing but an international conservation organization’s proposal to declare certain areas in the Philippines as particularly sensitive shipping areas (PSSA) with stricter standards for maritime safety could be the key to the protection of biodiversity-rich sea lanes.

The World Wildlife Fund-Philippines is pushing for the declaration of PSSA in the country, touted as the center of marine biodiversity in the world and a crucial global conservation site, to pin greater responsibility on companies that use these sensitive sea lanes to transport toxic and hazardous cargo like oil.

“The PSSA is an IMO (International Maritime Organization) term for special areas where rules for using shipping routes are clearly spelled out and the standards for safety, shipping, leakage of oil, etc. are much higher,” WWF-Philippines president Jose Lorenzo Tan said in a phone interview.

Many countries in Western Europe and the Scandinavian region already have designated PSSA which could be used as a model for the Philippine initiative, he said.

“If this is implemented in the Philippines, we’ll be the first country in the coral triangle with PSSA, which is strange as we have always been dubbed the center of marine biodiversity,” Tan said.

(For the full story, click Stricter safety standards.)

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