Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Mediterranean Shipping Company Praised in Save the Whales Campaign

Sanctuary Programme Aiming to Cut Mortalities Congratulates MSC
Shipping News Feature
US – Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Cordell Bank and Greater Farallones national marine sanctuaries, off the US Pacific coast, honoured giant container line Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), and a handful of other global shipping firms that have shown a high degree of cooperation with their vessel speed reduction requests to help prevent disastrous vessel collisions with whales, as well as improve the local air quality.

Being struck by large ships is one of the leading causes of whale mortality worldwide. Documented ship strikes from NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service data from 1988-2011, occurring just within the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank sanctuaries region, total 20 whales killed by ships and an additional 10 injured and possibly killed. The true number of ship strikes could be at least 10 times higher than the number documented.

As a result of the ship strikes, NOAA began introducing and incentivised Voluntary Speed Reduction programme across its sanctuaries calling for shippers to slow their vessels to 12 knots or less with a bonus offered for slowing to 10 knots or less.

The purpose of this speed-reduction programme is to improve air quality, reduce risk of fatal whale strikes, and protect whales within National Marine Sanctuaries. The award recipients have set an industry example by voluntarily reducing vessel speeds in areas where endangered whale species regularly feed. The companies awarded are:

MSC, Yang Ming, Hamburg Sud, MOL, K Line, Evergreen Marine, Tesoro Far East Maritime, Chevron Shipping, CSL Americas, OSG Ship Management, ExxonMobil, Polar Tankers, and Celebrity Cruises.

The speed restrictions, during the period when whales migrate to the area, help to mitigate potential collisions in two ways: by reducing the risk of serious or fatal injuries if a strike does occur, and by increasing the odds that a whale will have sufficient time to react and avoid the collision. Paolo Magnani, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Quality Control at MSC USA, commented:

“This is a great job and team effort by all involved, it reaffirms MSC’s commitment to protecting marine wildlife and preserving the biodiversity of our seas. We are very proud to be part of the NOAA programme and it is particularly noteworthy that MSC had more compliant vessels than any other operator in the programme in 2017.”

MSC is committed to promote a sustainable use of the sea and marine resources, while extensively investing in the latest generation green technologies, to minimise the environmental impact of business activities on land, oceans and populations.

Photo: A Humpback Whale sounds passing through the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Courtesy Sara Heintzelman, NOAA.