Shipping - Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA)

A Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) is an area that needs special protection through action by the IMO because of its significance for recognized ecological or socio-economic or scientific reasons, and which may be vulnerable to damage by international maritime activities. The Wadden Sea is an exceptional, highly dynamic tidal ecosystem of global importance, which is sensitive to the impact of international shipping and other activities. The adjacent North Sea is one of the world’s busiest areas in terms of international shipping and therefore the Wadden Sea fulfills the criteria for a PSSA designation.

PSSA Wadden Sea

In October 2002, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) designated major parts of the Dutch, German and Danish Wadden Sea as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) following an application of the Wadden Sea States decided at the 2001 Esbjerg Conference. At the 2010 Wadden Sea Conference on Sylt, an Evaluation Report of the Wadden Sea PSSA, which had been made by the Southampton Solent University in advance of the Conference, was presented, and it was agreed to develop a vision for the PSSA.

In 2011 and 2012, two follow-up workshops were held on the Wadden Sea PSSA. The objectives of these meetings were

  • to review the evaluation report,
  • to discuss the issues awareness and risk management being central aspects of the shipping safety for the PSSA and
  • to develop the vision for the Wadden Sea PSSA as a central input for the next Trilateral Governmental Wadden Sea Conference to be held on 4-5 February 2014 in Tønder, Denmark.

As a follow-up to these workshops the Task Group Shipping (TG-S) was instructed to develop an operational action plan encompassing the major themes awareness-raising, prevention of incidents, preparedness and response to incidents and prevention of operational pollution.


Application Document to the IMO MEPC

Designation of the Wadden Sea as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area. Application document submitted by Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 48) of the IMO:

Main Document
Annex 1: Description of the Particularly Sensitive Sea Area Wadden Sea - Coordinates
Annex 2: PSSA chart - Proposed Particularly Sensitive Sea Area Wadden Sea Boundary
Annex 3: Existing Measures – measures adopted by IMO and at the national and EC-level

More about PSSA you can find on the IMO website here.

Download other PSSA documents:

PSSA Workshop Report 2012

PSSA Workshop Report 2011

PSSA Wadden Sea Evaluation Report 2010