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No impact of seismic surveys on recreational boating - MAJ

Published:Monday | February 29, 2016 | 2:36 PM

No impact of seismic surveys on recreational boating - MAJ

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) has said the recent exploration of areas on the south coast of the island for oil and natural gas will not impact recreational boating.

With the signing of a Production Sharing Agreement between the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica and Tullow Jamaica Limited in November 2014, Tullow Jamaica recently began exploration.

Rear Admiral Peter Brady, head of the island's maritime administration responsible for ensuring the safety and security of ships, prevention of marine pollution and the protection of Jamaica's marine environment, said there is no reason for concern. The MAJ also administers the Jamaica Ship Registry, which conducts the registration of vessels, including pleasure craft.

"In no way will the seismic surveys being conducted affect recreational boating in Jamaica. The seismic operations are conducted well offshore where there is minimal recreational boating activities taking place," said Rear Admiral Brady, director general, MAJ.

'Minimal' can be interpreted as game fishing, which can take place at any distance from the shore, but mostly within 10 miles. This could also refer to some types of artisanal (canoe) and commercial fishing.

Most recreational boating takes place very close to the coastal regions of Jamaica, 10 metres to two kilometres, and includes jet skiing, kayaking, small sailboat activities, water skiing, parasailing and party-boat activities, among others.

Seismic operations in Jamaica's maritime space are conducted usually no closer than 10.00 nautical miles offshore, to distances exceeding 100 miles, in some sectors of our Exclusive Economic Zone, which notionally extends to 200 nautical from the coast.

During seismic operations, special signals are displayed on the surveying ship, which has a towed array extending up to 50 metres from the stern of the survey ship. the vessel maintains a special lookout for approaching vessels to communicate safety information.

Prior to the commencement of operations, navigational warnings are communicated in the print media via notices to mariners. the coast guard also sends out radio navigational warnings on a daily basis to alert vessels that may be transiting the area of operations.