UK Continental Shelf Safety Zones
Offshore operators are becoming increasingly concerned for the safety of their assets and the fishermen working around them. Recently there have been many incidents where fishing vessels have entered safety zones whilst carrying out fishing operations and several of these incidents have resulted in serious damage to subsea equipment and more seriously have put at risk the fishing vessels and their crews.
What is a safety zone?
The Petroleum Act 1987 is the UK law which governs offshore safety zones. Under this law there are two types of safety zone which can be created, HSE Safety Zones for surface installations and Statutory Instrument (S.I.) safety zones for subsea structures.
|Surface safety zone as shown on admiralty charts||FPSO safety zone as shown on admiralty charts|
A surface safety zone is an area extending 500m from any part of an offshore oil and gas installation and is established automatically around all installations which project above the sea at any state of the tide. Subsea installations may also have safety zones, created by statutory instrument (S.I.) to protect them. These safety zones are 500m radius from a central point.
Sub Surface safety zones as shown on admiralty charts
Vessels of all nations are required by law to respect safety zones. It is an offence (under section 23 of the Petroleum Act 1987) to enter a safety zone except under special circumstances.
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