Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and its partners in an initiative to cut air pollution and protect endangered whales announced results from the 2018 program and recognized the 12 shipping companies that participated, reducing speeds to 10 knots or less in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Santa Barbara Channel region.
Canada lifted the mandatory speed restriction for vessels in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to make sure that ships can operate safely during winter. Transport Canada is not aware of any North Atlantic right whale deaths from vessel strikes this year and will ask vessels to voluntarily slow down if a whale is spotted in or near the shipping lanes.
A skipper has been fined $1,688 after speeding and grounding the passenger ferry ‘City Cat’ in New Zealand. The ferry grounded at 17 knots, in a 5 knot area, on a rock at Karaka Bay on 16 April 2017. Maritime NZ informed the skipper did not have the correct navigational charts, did not maintain proper look-out and had repeatedly traveled at excessive speed prior to the grounding.
In light of MEPC 73 and its discussions regarding reducing shipping emissions, Greenpeace focused on another issue. The organization said that ships must reduce their speed, which could provide many benefits in the long term. Namely, lower speeds could lead to less CO2, among others.
Maritime NZ, New Zealand’s marine safety regulatory agency, 13 councils and the Lake Taupo Harbourmaster announced beginning of an extended ‘No Excuses’ campaign for recreational boaties not carrying or wearing lifejackets and those who speed on the water.
If sea-going vessels were better informed about the availability of berths and adapted their speed accordingly, substantial savings could be made in terms of fuel and CO2 emissions, according to a study commissioned by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and research institute TNO.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced it is extending the voluntary 15-knot speed reduction through the First Narrows that was introduced in July, to ensure safety of all boaters operating in port waters. The voluntary slowdown applies to all tier 2 vessels, which includes any vessel not under pilotage.
Whales travel all around the world’s oceans, communicating with complex sounds. They currently are at the top of the food chain and play an important role in the overall health of the marine environment. However, despite their size and importance, they are in serious danger. Today 6 out of the 13 great whale species are endangered, even after decades of protection. So one issue emerges: Protecting whales. What can we do to protect whales and what has already been done to save these creatures?
California clean air regulations intended to minimize air pollution from ships have been proven vital for saving whales, according to a recent report issued in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management. To comply and conserve fuel, vessels have slowed down, which has resulted in fewer whales being killed due to collisions with ships.
When vessels slow down, underwater noise is reduced, and so does the impact on whales, according to a Vessel Slowdown Trial led by the Port of Vancouver’s ECHO Program. Whales use sound to locate prey and ship noise can interfere with their ability to do this.
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