WSC Introduces the World's First 'Whale Chart' to Aid Safe Navigation

WSC Introduces the World's First 'Whale Chart' to Aid Safe Navigation

The World Shipping Council (WSC) has introduced the world's first Whale Chart to help minimise accidental collisions between ships and whales. 

The Whale Chart represents the first global mapping of all mandatory and voluntary governmental measures to reduce harm to whales from ships. 

The Whale Chart is available here and is free to all interested parties. 

According to a statement from the WSC, many whales spend considerable time at the surface - making them especially vulnerable to injury by vessel traffic. As such, the most effective way to reduce harm to whales is to separate whales and vessels as much as possible - hence the creation of the Whale Chart. 

The Whale Chart will be updated regularly and will involve input from the WSC’s NGO partners that include IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), and the Great Whale Conservancy. 

Commenting on the introduction of the Whale Chart, John Butler, President and CEO of the WSC, said: 

“With the WSC Whale Chart, seafarers will for the first time have a comprehensive global resource offering critical navigational coordinates and concise graphics to identify routing measures and areas subject to static speed restrictions designed to protect whales and other cetaceans. 

We hope that by compiling this unique navigational aid, keeping it updated and making it available for free to all navigators, we can help reduce ship strikes and safeguard endangered whale populations across the globe”.

In addition to the release of the Whale Chart, the WSC will be working with partners to separate shipping traffic from known areas of significant whale activity where possible. 

One area of particular focus is the waters south of Sri Lanka, where hundreds of ships travel between Europe and Asia each week. This area is a major feeding area for blue whales and represents an area of acute risk for vessel strikes. 

The World Shipping Council also followed up the release of the Whale Chart with a major international gathering that brought together members of the shipping industry, governments, NGOs and academia. Hosted by the MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company in Geneva, the ‘International Whales Protection Workshop’ promoted knowledge sharing across this wide range of organisations to drive progress on strategies, operational measures, and technical solutions that can help protect whales. 

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