Friend of the Sea urges the global shipping industry for immediate action to prevent whales’ ship strikes and to implement sustainable practices
Image for representation purpose only – Picture by Sopaka Karunasundara – friendsofthesea.org
Paolo Bray, director of Friend of the Sea, a global certification for sustainable practices, has launched an urgent request today at the Green Maritime Forum held in Hamburg for shipping company’s immediate action to prevent whales’ ship strikes and implement sustainable practices.
“Merchant shipping is currently carrying more than 90% of international trade” explains Paolo Bray, founder and director of Friend of the Sea. “Some shipping companies have already implemented several strict sustainability measures, but there are still many which don’t even comply with the minimum requirements. A sustainability certification like Friend of the Sea highlights those operators engaged to protect the environment from those who are not yet there and should be motivated to change”.
Since 2015, Friend of the Sea has campaigned internationally for the shipping industry to consider measures to reduce whales’ ship strikes. In Sri Lanka Friend of the Sea has proposed a shifting of the lanes 15 miles south to reduce whales’ mortality in the area due to ship strikes by an estimated 90%.
“While the World Shipping Council and other shipping organizations have shown some level of concern, the timing of their response is proving to be far too slow and the risk is that by the time some action is coordinated, whales’ populations will already be on the path to extinction” explains Bray.
“In Sri Lanka alone 1.000 yearly whales’ strikes are estimated and several have resulted in whales’ deaths. Whales are killed by ship strikes globally, but from our records the industry seems to be largely not reporting on the official IWC whales ship strikes database.”
Friend of the Sea proposes simple and effective solutions to reduce whales’ mortality from ship strikes, such as on board thermal cameras reporting whales’ presence; strikes avoidance procedures and an online platform to share whales’ presence data.
Two major European shipping companies, GreenSea and Seatrade have already been Friend of the Sea certified for environmentally and socially sustainable shipping and engagement to reduce risk of whales’ ship strikes.