6/26/2013

DANGER DES EAUX PHILIPPINES !

Les eaux Philippines sont dangereuses !

L’on peut se poser la question de savoir pourquoi il y a autant d’accidents maritimes dans et autour de  l’archipel philippin ?

Si l’on peut mettre un certain nombre de ces accidents sur la vétusté et le mauvais entretien des vaisseaux locaux, de l’incompétence des personnels, de la non-application des règles de sécurité les plus élémentaires,  il n’en reste pas moins que de nombreux accidents ont une autre cause.

La dangerosité de la navigation, entre et aux abords des îles de l’archipel est responsable de très nombreux accidents et c’est souvent que le moindre petit incident à bord peut se transformer rapidement en catastrophe.


Nombreux sont les marins expérimentés, qui après avoir traversé l’océan Pacifique sans aucun problème sur un voilier de plaisance, se retrouvent en difficulté dès qu’ils pénètrent dans les eaux Philippines.

Courants extrêmes, vents violents, imprévisibles et soudains, hauts fonds, bancs de sable et récifs, tempêtes qui se lèvent sans prévenir, manque d’information météorologique fiables, etc. font que les eaux philippines sont parmi les plus dangereuses du globe.

Ajoutons à cela que les cartes marines locales sont parfois sujettes à erreurs.

Le 17 janvier dernier, par beau temps, mais de nuit, le USS Gardian, un dragueur de mines de la marine américaine s’empalait sur les récifs du Tubbataha Reef. Un ensemble de récifs à fleur d’eau qui se situe à 157 kilomètres au Sud-est de Purto Princesa, Palawan.  

The West Philippine Sea, also known as the South China Sea, is not only a ''powder keg'' due to escalating tensions between China and rival claimants particularly the Philippines and Vietnam, it is also one of the most dangerous hot spots for accidents involving ships based on a new study undertaken by a British University.

According to the study by Southampton Solent University and released by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) for World Oceans Day, since 1999 there have been 293 shipping accidents in the South China Sea, home of the Coral Triangle.

It cited in particular the grounding of two ships on Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines this year.
On Jan. 17, the USS Guardian, a 68-meter long United States Navy warship, entered Tubbataha without proper clearance to accidentally plough into the north-western portion of the protected reef. It took 73 days and $45 million to remove the 1300-ton Avenger-class minesweeper from the reef. Hundreds of square meters were damaged as a result of the grounding.

Just eight days after the US warship was extracted, another vessel ran aground on the same reef.

On April 8, Tubbataha Park Rangers discovered the F/V Min Long Yu, a 48-meter long Chinese fishing vessel, floundering in the protected area. Though smaller than the wood-and-fiberglass hulled USS Guardian, the Chinese vessel was steel-hulled. 

This plus the fact that the craft kept bucking up, down and sideways, proved deadly to the reef. By the time the ship was towed out 11 days later, a vast reef area had been obliterated, with some massive 500-year-old Porites corals sheared cleanly in half.


Tubbataha Reef, which sits in the center of the Sulu Sea, 157 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, is located within the Coral Triangle, an area of important biological and marine diversity. Covering almost 97,030 hectares, it serves as a sanctuary for over 350 species of corals, almost 500 species of fish, and one of the few remaining colonies of breeding seabirds in the region.

The other hot spots identified by the study commissioned by WWF were the East Indies, and the east Mediterranean and Black seas. The North Sea and the Bay of Biscay were identified as the area were the fourth largest number of shipping accidents in the world were recorded with 135 reported incidents between 1999 and 2011, including fires, collisions and leakage of toxic waste.


The North Sea is one of the most intensively sailed seas in the world, with over 120,000 ship movements taking place there every year.

The study further pointed out that fishing vessels accounted for nearly a quarter of the vessels lost at sea but general cargo ships account for over 40 percent.

The WWF stressed that as the global fleet continues to expand rapidly and begins to operate routinely in more risky areas, the probability of accidents and likely severity of impacts will again increase unless precautionary measures are put in place to address identifiable risk factors.


''We really want to see the shipping industry promote greater owner and operator responsibility and encourage owners to register with better flag states,'' Dr. Simon Walmsley, Marine Manager at WWF, said in a statement. ''Additionally, irresponsible and badly performing owners and countries need to be exposed in order to motivate them to increase their standards, which will decrease the number of accidents we see still occurring today.''

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