MSC Cruises has announced the implementation of a ship strike mitigation program for deck officers to reduce the chances of ships colliding with whales, dolphins and porpoises in oceans.
The program is designed in collaboration with the marine conservation charity ORCA and will be first implemented on the MSC Bellissima. The ship, currently cruising the Mediterranean, was chosen as the pilot ship as it navigates through the Pelagos Sanctuary, an area that is home to numerous marine species.
Captain Minas Myrtidis, vice president of Environmental Operations & Compliance at MSC Cruises, said: “By working together with ORCA we are able to play an important role in protecting the seas for future generations. We are committed to support the health of our oceans and partnering with experts to introduce bespoke training and education is a further positive step forward.”
The goal of the program is to educate those who work on the ship’s bridge about the animals they may encounter when sailing and how to avoid potential ship strikes.
When the trial on the MSC Bellissima is completed, an e-learning course will be available across the MSC Cruises’ fleet of 21 ships and it will also be added to the MSC Euribia set to launch in June 2023.
The MSC Bellissima will be equipped with propeller blades that have a system that adds air bubbles around the propeller to balance the pressure environment. Other measures will be installed as well to reduce noise and vibration from equipment and to help minimize the negative effect ships have on marine life, especially sea mammals.
In 2022, MSC Cruises moved its fleet off the west coast of Greece to avoid the chances of collision with endangered sperm whales in the Mediterranean.