Propuesta de designación de la Zona Marina Especialmente Sensible del Estrecho de Gibraltar y Golfo de Cádiz : Una estrategia para mejorar la protección de las aguas marinas frente a los riesgos que se derivan del transporte marítimo = Proposal for the designation of the Particularly Sensitive Sea Area of the Strait of Gibraltar and Gulf of Cadiz : a strategy to protect the marine environment from risks rising as a consequence of maritime transportation


Pacha Vicente, Esteban


Martínez de Osés, Francesc Xavier

Date of defense


Legal Deposit

B 23116-2014


292 p.


Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament de Ciència i Enginyeria Nàutiques


In recent years, society has begun to take a new view of its relations with the surrounding environment, and in particular has become aware of the need to ensure the sustainability of the oceans and their biodiversity. This concerns have also moved the scientific community to include aspects of environmental science and engineering in their curricula. This thesis links both the causes and effects of maritime transport with the necessary protection of marine resources aiming to justify a specific proposal that would allow the right balance between the needs of maritime transportation and the desired environmental protection of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Gulf of Cadiz. Recent studies show that the model of human activity in this area is hardly sustainable in the terms in which has occurred to date and conclude that continuing with the current rate of growth of these activities would result in environmental problems leading to decreased levels of quality of life and a weakness of the productive sectors. It has also been demonstrated that the effects of chronic discharges in areas adjacent to the Strait of Gibraltar are more damaging than large spills even though limited in time, as occurred in the aftermath of the Prestige accident. Shipping is one of those human activities that have an ongoing impact on the marine environment and is capable of generating acute risks of serious environmental and economic consequences to the region. For these reasons, other Spanish waters enjoy some degree of protection against threats arising from shipping: the Mediterranean Sea is a Special Area under MARPOL Convention; the Cantabrian Sea and the north-western Atlantic waters are part of the Western European PSSA; and the Canary Islands were also designated as PSSA were several protective measures have been implemented. The designation of a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) represents a major advance in environmental protection that complements other existing conservation strategies. It is striking to note that despite the fact that the area subject to study supports one of the largest maritime traffic intensities of the planet and includes important spaces of environmental conservation - including UNESCO's Biosphere Reserves-, lacks an adequate level of protection to minimize the risks of marine pollution. In summary, this thesis studies the characteristics of the maritime area of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Gulf of Cadiz, as well as the levels of protection against the risks arising from shipping. A thorough analysis of the different options offered by international regulations to improve the aforementioned levels of protection leads to the conclusion that it would be appropriate to formally designate the area as a PSSA. Consequently, the dissertation postulates a detailed and definitive proposal for the designation of the PSSA STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR AND GULF OF CADIZ including various associated protective measures that could be implemented to improve safety of navigation, thus reducing the impact that maritime activities pose on the marine environment. The proposals put forward may also constitute a case study on how to combine science and engineering to achieve an environmental objective. In particular, Chapter 5 forms the basis for an eventual formulation of the proposed PSSA to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Finally, the thesis provides lines of future research on further protection of the proposed PSSA. As a result, in addition to its value in the academic context, the work undertaken could materialize into concrete proposals that would contribute to the transfer of knowledge to the advantage of economic and social development through implementation of the academic research. This indeed contributes to the achievement of the UPC's own driven general strategies, as well as the enacted goals of the Campus of International Excellence of the Sea in the territorial context of the area covered by this thesis.

Esta tesis estudia las características del litoral y de las aguas marítimas de la zona del Estrecho de Gibraltar y Golfo de Cádiz, así como los niveles de protección frente a los riesgos derivados de la navegación y otras actividades marítimas en esa zona. Tras analizar detalladamente las diferentes opciones que ofrece la normativa internacional para mejorar los referidos niveles de protección, se concluye que resultaría adecuada la designación por parte de la Organización Marítima Internacional de esas aguas como Zona Marina Especialmente Sensible (ZMES) de acuerdo con las disposiciones del Convenio MARPOL. Consecuentemente, el trabajo personal de planteamiento de la tesis aporta una propuesta concreta para la designación de la ZMES del ESTRECHO DE GIBRALTAR Y GOLFO DE CÁDIZ que constituye el objeto principal de la tesis. Finalmente, a través de metodologías de selección de criterios, se diseña un sistema de ordenación de tráfico marítimo para la zona designada, que incluye distintas Medidas de Protección Asociadas que podrían implantarse para mejorar la eficiencia y los niveles de seguridad de la navegación reduciendo por tanto el impacto de las actividades marítimas sobre el medio marino


Coastal management; Ecosystem services; Marine pollution; Maritime safety; MARPOL Convention; PSSA (Particularly Sensitive Sea Area); SOLAS; Vessel management system; Gestión del litoral; Ordenación del tráfico marítimo; Seguridad marítima


502 - The environment and its protection; 627 - Natural waterway, port, harbour and shore engineering. Navigational, dredging, salvage and rescue facilities. Dams and hydraulic power plant






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