France

These bottlenecks under close surveillance in the Channel – Sea



From Brest to Dunkirk, three maritime bottlenecks are the subject of a violation of the principle of freedom of navigation. The IMO imposes a “traffic separation scheme” (DST) there (see infographic opposite).

All vessels over 24 meters in length must report to the Cross Corsen. They are a hundred every day.

80% display less than 200m. Two other rails have been traced inside the Channel: that of Casquets, north-west of Cherbourg, where the currents are very violent, and that of Pas-de-Calais. It is the narrowest place (33 km) and the least deep (20 to 30 m). Here, the risk is that a broken down giant of the seas will run aground on the submarine shoals, where there are 12 meters of water in places, not enough for Ever Given!

In these DSTs on which the Crosses and their British alter egos, the MRCCs, have their eyes fixed, any misunderstanding triggers a fine. It is also strictly forbidden to stop there. The maritime prefects (the “Prémars”) of Brest and Cherbourg have the power to give notice to the ship and its owner to put an end to the danger within a fixed period. Without any reaction on their part, these admirals are justified in organizing the towing of the ship in a safe area. The invoice is then sent to the shipowner, only State assistance to people is free. In the event of a crisis, the Premars trigger the marine version of the Orsec plan. At level 2, the crisis management unit extends to in-house experts, such as those from CEPPOL. At level 3, it must include the owner and insurer of the ship in distress, as well as any other actor deemed useful. The large ports in the area, which have their own tugs, or the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), which keeps its own capacities on alert 24 hours a day.

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