The IMO designates Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park as a PSSA

Commodore Joselito de la Cruz (Philippine Coast Guard), H.E. Attorney Gilberto Asuque (Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the IMO) and Professor David Johnson at MEPC71.

Following the adoption by the Maritime Safety Committee of a new Area to be Avoided as an Associated Protective Measure, on 11 July 2017, the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) confirmed the final designation of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, situated in the Sulu Sea, Philippines as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA).

The aim of the designation is to reduce the risk of ship groundings in the park, thereby preventing any resulting marine pollution and damage to the fragile coral reef ecosystem, as well as ensuring the sustainability of local artisanal fisheries.

Tubbataha Reef Natural Park is located within the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion EBSA at the apex of the Coral Triangle and is a unique atoll reef with very high biodiversity.  The Natural Park is also inscribed as World Heritage Site No. 653.  Tubbataha’s north and south islets are renowned sea turtle nesting sites and important seabird habitat.