I Piloti Italiani patecipano con il progetto internazionale del PILOTAGGIO NELLE BOCCHE DI BONIFACIO.
scarica e stampa: APPLICATION-BSP-Blue-Economy-Business-Awards-2016.pdf
Between the French island of Corsica and the Italian island of Sardinia lies a span of sea of extraordinary beauty, rich marine life and unique ecosystems. In an effort to protect this area's environmental, cultural and economic attributes from the serious threat posed by international shipping, the IMO (International Martitime Organization) declared the Strait of Bonifacio and surrounding areas "particularly sensitive sea area" ( PSSA), the only area in the Mediterranean to receive such distinguished status. In order to satisfy the prerequisites of a PSSA, a pilotage system was to be instated along with the adoption of a mandatory traffic separation scheme, promulgation of areas to be avoided and vessel traffic service. As the deadline neared for the pilotage to be implemented, a group of local Pilots from South Corsica and Northern Sardinia joined forces and took action, despite entirely lacking financial assistance or logistical support from either local, national or european governments. The encouragement and cooperation of the Italian Coast Guard's General Command and its local Offices proved fundamental, hence with determination and goodwill, Italian and French Pilots began active service as the Bonifacio Strait Pilots on July 1, 2014.
What makes pilotage in the Strait original and innovative is that the Bonifacio Strait Pilots were initiated by Pilots from different nations, on a volunteer basis. French and Italian Pilots united with the common goal of fullfilling the PSSA and therefore guaranteeing the highest level of protection possible to such a precious yet treacherous sea area.
Furthermore, the Strait of Bonifacio is subject to the 1982 convention of Montego Bay, whereby Pilotage cannot be imposed or made mandatory. Pilotage in the Strait is merely strongly reccomended by the IMO.
The Sardinian and Corsican economy depend largely on tourism. Official studies predict that spillage would cause grave consequences to both the environment and local economy for several years and the certain extinction of endemic marine species. Considering that over 3,200 ships cross through the Strait of Bonifacio each year, 80% of whom are considered High or Very High Risk according to the IMO due to the quantity of hydrocarbon they carry on board, coupled with the complex morphology of the area, intense sea conditions, strong unpredictable currents, jagged coastline and the presence of numerous islands, shoals and reefs make it imperative that both nations take all necessary action in safeguarding this area. As has been said during an MEPC (IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee) "Its dangerousness is well known, an area in which the Coastal authorities are confined to the role of spectator , waiting for a maritime accident to happen".
This project's sole objective is to provide the associative protective measure (APM) as imposed by the IMO for environmental protection of the only PSSA in the Mediterranean. International shipping in the Strait is a fact however the key is maintaining the highest level of safety in order to allow continued economic growth for the region and for the International shipping community who accesses the Strait of Bonifacio exclusively as a short cut. Meaning that, unlike other marine passage ways such as Gibralter or Panama, alternative routes are available to shipping companies but crossing through the Strait constitutes a significant reduction in journey length and fuel consumption resulting in monetary return.
Bonifacio Strait Pilots is a prime example of "cross-sectoral and transnational cooperation". The constant support and cooperation between the Italian Pilots Federation and the Italian Coast Guard's General Command together with the French Federation of Maritime Pilots have all contributed in bringing attention to the endeavour. Moreover, the continuing teamwork preformed by French and Italian Pilots in offering and maintaining an active Pilotage service in the Strait clearly attest to the commitment and resolution of all those involved.
It is unfortunate to report that to date there fails to be any viable political support for this project from either nation. This remains the only missing link in consolidating the intent and realization of Pilotage in the Strait of Bonifacio.