Wageningen Marine Research was requested by ACRB B.V. to investigate the fishing activities around the BBL pipeline. This gas pipeline crosses the southern North Sea from Balgzand (near Den Helder) in the Netherlands to Bacton in the UK (230km). This pipeline is abbreviated as the BBL pipeline. Part of the activities deployed by the owner of the BBL pipeline is to secure the integrity of the pipeline, which includes checking burial status, detecting free-spans and investigating internal and external threats to the integrity of the pipeline. Fishing is considered as one of the external threats to the pipeline where a collision with fishing gear could damage the pipeline, the fishing gear, the vessel or the crew. Therefore in areas with substantial fishing activity, extra care should be taken. Such a risk inventory becomes more and more common day practice of submarine pipeline and cable owners where discussions now focus on how to best spend effort on protecting pipelines and where to relieve specific burial requirements.
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