MSC is the first major shipping line to re-route their ships on the west coast of Greece to reduce the risk of collision with endangered sperm whales in the Mediterranean.
More than half the sperm whales found stranded on the Greek coast show evidence of vessel collisions, known as ‘ship strikes’. This is the highest proportion of deaths caused by ship strikes known for any whale population globally. Most collisions are fatal but some live animals carry scars from encounters with ship propellers.
After discussions with four major environmental NGOs, the shipping company decided to take swift action and re-route all of their container vessels in this area to safeguard the critical habitat for the subpopulation of whales.
The IEF’s advisory board member and Scientific Director of the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute, Alexandros Frantzis, stated: “The whales found dead on the shore with propeller marks and cuts are just the tip of the iceberg. Up to 20 times more die offshore and are never recorded…It is our fear that without urgent action, deaths through ship strikes will cause this already small population to go extinct very soon”.
Critical action like this is urgently needed in order to protect the remaining 200 to 300 individuals that remain and it is very encouraing to see Mediterranean Shipping Company set such a strong example of conservation for these beautiful and endangered species.