ABSTRACT:

Worldwide, there is a risk of tension between the fishing industry and the offshore oil and gas industries because of competing requirements for use of the seabed. Fishing activities can damage installations, be hazardous to the environment and have the potential to cause loss of life. The danger was highlighted in March 1997 when the fishing vessel FV Westhaven caught its fishing gear in a pipeline in the North Sea. Attempts to recover the gear led to the loss of all lives on board. Following this tragic incident, it became apparent to all parties that the sharing of up-to-date information was key to avoiding accident in the future, and that electronic charts could play a vital role. This paper discusses the creation of a database of subsea hazards and a set of electronic charts, which were created from it. The charts, covering the UK Continental Shelf, are regularly updated at six monthly intervals and are distributed free of charge to the entire UK and Northern European fishing fleets. The project was funded by the United Kingdom Cable protection Committee (UKCPC), The United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA) and the United Kingdom Sea Fish Industry Authority (SFIA)

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