MSC Cruises Creates Training Program in Conjunction with ORCA to Reduce Whale Collisions
MSC Cruises just announced that it’s partnered up with the U.K.-based marine conservation group ORCA to reduce the likelihood of collisions with whales, dolphins, and porpoises in oceans around the world via an online training program they’re rolling out. This is great news, as large ships are thought to be responsible for numerous injuries and deaths among whales and other aquatic creatures.
As just one example, a lone whale known as “Moon” swam thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean with a broken spine after being hit by a vessel. Marine experts stated Moon, a humpback whale, would likely not survive the return trip from Hawaii to Canada in her present condition. She was last seen in December 2022 off Kona emaciated and covered in sea lice with an obvious kink to her spine.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), vessel strikes are one of the primary causes of right whale deaths and serious harm. Estimates place their numbers at only 350 right whales alive today.
ORCA and MSC Cruises plan to educate those working on the ship’s bridge about the marine mammals they may encounter on a voyage. Bridge Officers aboard the MSC Bellissima will be the first to participate in the online training program. The ship was chosen as the pilot vessel based on her navigation through the Pelagos Sanctuary. Once the MSC Bellissima trial is completed, the e-learning course will be rolled out across MSC Cruises‘ fleet of 21 ships and added to the newest build MSC Euribia, which is launching in June 2023.
“By working together with ORCA, we are able to play an important role in protecting the seas for future generations. We are committed to supporting the health of our oceans and believe partnering with experts to introduce bespoke training and education is a positive step forward,” said Captain Minas Myrtidis, VP of Environmental Operations & Compliance for MSC Cruises.
A Changing Cruise Industry
In addition to implementing a ship-strike mitigation plan designed to reduce potential collisions with marine mammals, MSC has been working on reducing noise levels when its ships are operating in open water for the sake of ocean residents. Their website notes “Our ships are designed to reduce noise radiated under the water surface, thus minimizing noise or vibration that might impact aquatic mammals.”
As more data comes forth revealing the extent that human activity negatively impacts ocean life, it’s nice to see that businesses that profit off of our natural resources are beginning to take their own stewardship responsibilities more seriously.Whizzco