Cruise ships are just one aspect of maritime transport in Balearic waters. | Archive

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The Balearic government is to urge the Madrid government to request that the waters around the Balearic Islands are declared a protected zone.

Following Monday's cabinet meeting, the environment minister, Miquel Mir, explained that this would be a request sent to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN agency which promotes safe, ecologically sound, efficient and sustainable maritime transport.

The specific request is for an IMO 'Particularly Sensitive Sea Area', which has applied to the Canary Islands since 2004 and also applies to the Galapagos Islands and the Baltic Sea.

The Balearic government argues that the sea around the Balearics is subject to international maritime transport that can have "unfavourable impacts" on the marine and coastal environment as well as on human health.