876 - 03/13 - Changes to North Sea Shipping Routes - North Sea


The Club has been advised that from the 1st August 2013, the Dutch part of the North Sea will undergo extensive changes to the current routeing system. Among the changes, a number of Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) will be revised, a new TSS will be put in place on the approaches to IJmuiden, new anchoring areas will be established and existing anchorages will be changed.

The changes are being made in order to ensure the future safety of shipping and improve access to the Dutch main ports in what is one of the world's most intensively used sea areas.

The new routeing system comes into force at 00:00 UTC on the 1st August 2013. New nautical charts and ENC's detailing the changes will be released mid June. Members are reminded that vessels must have the new nautical charts on board before the changes take effect.

The main changes are as follows:

  • A new Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) − already in force in Rotterdam − will be introduced in the approaches to IJmuiden. This will ensure that vessels sailing in opposite directions have their own sea lanes.
  • Routes will be located farther from the coast Routes will intersect each other less often 
  • Anchorage areas will be relocated or abolished 
  • Space around objects (platforms, etc.) will be configured differently 
  • 'Areas to be avoided' and 'precautionary areas' will be introduced. Vessels will no longer be allowed to sail in 'areas to be avoided', while vessels sailing in 'precautionary areas' will be explicitly advised to navigate carefully.

On the 30th and 31st July 2013, numerous buoys will be moved and re-positioned, so particular care should be taken while navigating in these areas on those dates. More detailed information on the changes will be given to marine traffic before, and during, the operation through Notice to Mariners and live navigation messages.

During the implementation of the changes and for a short period after the changes come in to effect, extra Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs) and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) will be deployed to supervise marine traffic and, where necessary, lend assistance.

  Source of Information:

Rijkswaterstaat - Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment



Staff Author