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Old 22-08-2013, 22:31   #1
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Shipping Lane Information

One thing that I haven't figured out for the life of me is this: who controls or documents shipping lanes for offshore (non-national open water)? Are there even such things? I keep on hearing people talk about shipping lanes when well offshore, but none of the charts that I've seen actually have shipping lane info on them. I'm beginning to think that they don't actually exist, or only exist logically via great circle routes along common passages like Japan <-> PNW.
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Old 22-08-2013, 23:09   #2
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pirate Re: Shipping Lane Information

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Originally Posted by csmithers View Post
One thing that I haven't figured out for the life of me is this: who controls or documents shipping lanes for offshore (non-national open water)? Are there even such things?
This is a blue water pilot's question. The key words are Ship's Routeing. You can plug those words into Google search and you will find link to IMO (International Maritime Organization), the UN Agency that co-ordinates this worldwide. They publish Ships' Routeing by the Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization. IMO states that "Ships Routeing - 7th Edition, 1999 plus 2002 amendnents on CD, is updated when schemes are amended or new ones added".

You can think of it as a modern version of medieval Sailing Rutter. Only PILOTS are supposed to know about it (shhhh!). Now you are Pilot, too.

It's also available in free digital download from IMO.

Good general map is at Wikipedia "Sea lane".

I'd post links, but I am new member and this is my tenth post so I can't, until NEXT post
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Old 22-08-2013, 23:43   #3
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Re: Shipping Lane Information

Really there are just places of greater or lesser traffic density, Singapore Strait to the Gulf of Aden would be one where ships just plod along the dotted line... defacto separation is provided by the separation schemes of the top end of Sumatra, south of Sri Lanka etc. Like wise the Straits of Gibraltar up to Ushant.

But even the emptiest bits will turn up surprises... a few years ago in what one would expect to be an extremely empty bit I came across a big gas tanker bound Peru around the Horn to Spain, another time a VLCC poking along from Ecuador to India.....

And ships don't just follow the rhumb line or GC track. Many ships west bound across the Great Australian Bight will hug the coast up past Kangaroo Island until in the approximate latitude of Albany, WA., and then just head due west so as to keep out of the worst of the westerly weather.
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Old 23-08-2013, 07:11   #4
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Common shipping routes are plotted on Pilot Charts.

Traffic separation schemes are plotted on nautical charts, but typically only in areas of high traffic density...like off the E end of Cuba (attached).
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Old 23-08-2013, 07:39   #5
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Re: Shipping Lane Information

ships Routing , is a umbrella term for various forms of controlled shipping lanes, most notably Traffic Seperation Lanes, Roundabouts etc. There are many other forms of route as well. This are controlled and mandated by the IMO , a UN body and once agreed are then mandatory. This includes establishing routes in territorial waters.

Shipping Lanes is a much more generic term and may merely mean common non mandatory routes followed by shipping from destination to destination.

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Old 23-08-2013, 09:02   #6
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Re: Shipping Lane Information

Thanks very much for the insightful responses! I think this question has now been answered.
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Old 23-08-2013, 09:15   #7
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Re: Shipping Lane Information

I would imagine they are established by the users, ie: freighters coming from china to the west coast probably take the same track often. The density of traffic in that "lane" would make it a shipping lane....
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