IMO adopted areas to be avoided along Aleutian Islands
The IMO Maritime Safety Committee per IMO SN.1/Circ.331 adopted five ‘Areas to Be Avoided’ (ATBA) in the region of the Aleutian Island Archipelago in order to reduce the risk of a marine casualty and resulting pollution and damage to the environment. These new ATBAs will come into effect on January 1, 2016.
The five ATBAs apply to vessels solely in transit through the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean and extends 50 nautical miles from the shoreline of the islands. The 50 nautical mile buffer zone is designed to allow for the repair of, or time to launch an emergency response effort to any marine casualty before it runs aground and damages the fragile ecosystem. The establishment of the ATBA adds minimal distance to a voyage.
The Alaska Maritime Prevention & Response Network (Network) operating procedures are predominately aligned with the adopted ATBAs with the exception of transits west of Attu Island. The Network’s operating procedures currently allow for participating vessels to transit no less than 12nm west of Attu, but will be modified to require a minimum distance of 50nm as of January 1, 2016. This modification will align the Network’s operating procedures with the IMO ATBAs.
Below is a graphic depiction of the IMO ATBAs.