In the interest of the international shipping industry, the KVNR calls on the Dutch government, in the processes leading up to a spatial planning of the North Sea, to guarantee that seagoing ships can continue to navigate safely and smoothly while sailing along the Dutch coast or into Dutch ports. The KVNR calls for the following:
- Provide VTS coverage
All Dutch wind farms – including, if possible, those on the entire Dutch Continental Shelf – must be covered by a radar shipping traffic control system (Vessel Traffic Service, VTS).
The Coastguard will probably need additional VTS operators and additional VTS equipment for VTS coverage beyond the 12 nautical mile boundary of territorial waters.
- Provide support vessels at offshore wind farms
Emergency standby vessels (ESVs) must be moored at every offshore wind farm to prevent a ship colliding with wind turbines in the event of an emergency.
- Ensure good connections with Germany and Denmark
The Dutch government, in consultation with Germany and Denmark, must guarantee that the Dutch shipping routing measures to the northeast of the Wadden Islands connect properly with (future) German and Danish shipping routing measures.
Situations where ships have to make dangerously sharp turns or weave or cross paths unnecessarily with other shipping traffic should be avoided.
Therefore, a restricted area (‘clearway’) should be created above and in line with the ‘West Friesland’ traffic separation scheme where no offshore wind farms should be built.
Any adjustment of the shipping routes in the Dutch EEZ – also requiring the necessary approval from the International Maritime Organization (the UN agency for maritime affairs) – must not become the final element of decision-making policy in the North Sea strategy.
- Account for increasing traffic via the Northen Sea Routee
The Northen Sea Route north of Norway and Russia is becoming increasingly accessible to seagoing vessels for an increasingly longer part of the year. This route reduces the distance that a seagoing ships has to sail from Asia to the Netherlands, compared to sailing via the Indian Ocean route.
This Northern Sea Route will increasingly be taken by more and more ships in a way that is safe for people, the environment, ship and cargo.
In the spatial planning of the Dutch North Sea waters, it is important that this situation is anticipated and ship routing measures are taken.