At present, the marine protected area is equipped with maritime markers to identify Zone A: the zone of maximum protection, where all activities are prohibited, with the exception only of monitoring and scientific research activities, and therefore the most important zone for protection and conservation measures.
As the zone is quadrilateral, the markers are placed at the 4 vertex points and consist of:
- 2 deep-sea buoys for the two outermost vertex points (vertices M and Q / north-west and south-west points),
- 2 beacons for the two vertex points closest to the ground (vertices N and P / north-east and south-east points).
[For the geographical coordinates of the points (Latitude/Longitude), see the “Mapping and Zoning” page]
The two buoys are each equipped with four floating elements supported by a steel frame structure and are anchored by means of chains and jumpers to a fixed mooring consisting of a large reinforced concrete plinth, lined with local stone to help it blend into the marine environment, lying on the seabed at a depth of approximately 15 metres.
The two beacons consist of a single-pole steel structure, fixed with a joint to a special foundation, again consisting of a large reinforced concrete plinth, lying on the seabed at an average depth of approximately 6 metres.
All the structures are equipped with signals in accordance with the Code of Navigation, consisting of:
- for daytime recognisability, a “St Andrew’s Cross”, affixed to the top of the pole of the structure,
- for nighttime visibility, a solar-powered light, flashing white with a visible range of 5 nautical miles, always placed on top of the structure.
Due to the particular configuration of this marine protected area – located in an open stretch of sea far from the coast and therefore strongly exposed to meteorological and marine elements – the installed maritime markers are subject to considerable wear and tear and almost continuous stress caused by the considerable energy generated by swell and sea currents.
This means that, although the structures and equipment are designed and built to withstand considerable strain, they require constant checks and periodic maintenance work. Maintenance is carried out on an almost annual basis and mainly involves maintaining the full working order and functionality of all aspects of the signalling system, such as: attachment to the seabed, buoyancy, weather tightness, visibility and recognisability both day and night; all in compliance with the stringent regulations of the industry and those deriving from the current Code of Navigation.