Friend of the Sea assigns MSC Cruises the Whale-Safe 2022 Award for its outstanding measures to prevent whale ship strikes.

MSC Cruises has been selected for the Friend of the Sea Whale-Safe Award owing to its rigorous implementation of tangible measures to protect endangered whale populations from whale ship collisions. 

Friend of the Sea is encouraged to witness broadened attention towards the neglected yet severe issue of whale ship collisions. It remains essential that major shipping and cruise operators set a precedent, and for that reason, we are pleased to award MSC Cruises with Whale-Safe recognition. We hope to see more cruise and shipping lines follow whale-safe practices and apply for the Whale-Safe certification and awardexplains Paolo Bray, Founder, and Director of Friend of the Sea.

Although the international prohibition of whaling in the late 90s saved great whale species from the brink of extinction, recent empirical evidence has indicated ship collisions as currently one of the most prominent human-induced threats to whales.

In 2021 Friend of the Sea initiated the Whale-Safe campaign out of concern for rising collision-related mortalities as global shipping traffic continues to steadily expand. The Friend of the Sea Whale-Safe award is intended to attract further critical awareness and to spur collective dialogue towards designing effective solutions, and ultimately imperative change within the maritime industry.  

Last year, Friend of the Sea conducted a comprehensive study assessing the extent of whale-safe efforts by shipping entities with MSC Cruises showcasing the highest degree of whale-safe engagement.

MSC Cruises has developed and employs robust sustainability principles and practices, as clearly seen in its annual sustainability report. As a family-owned group with three centuries of maritime heritage, the company is committed to protecting our planet and ocean ecosystems for future generations. In 2021, MSC Cruises took an important step forward and reinforced its industry leadership in this field by pledging to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Concerning whale-safe technology, MSC Cruises vessels have been equipped with specially designed hulls, propellers, and noise suppression devices, aimed to significantly minimize underwater vibrations and the subsequent impact on cetaceans, earning MSC Cruises the Underwater Radiated Noise (URN) certification from Bureau Veritas on several of its ships. In 2021, MSC Cruises was also commended for re-routing ships in the East Mediterranean to help protect populations of sperm whale in the Hellenic Trench.

MSC Cruises has a longstanding commitment to protecting the ocean and marine wildlife. We are pleased to receive the Whale-Safe 2022 Award, which recognises our consistent efforts to support the conservation of endangered whale populations. It shows that the actions we are taking in this regard have a tangible and meaningful impact”, said Linden Coppell, Director of Sustainability at MSC Cruises.

MSC Cruises places an additional emphasis on ecotourism through its ‘Protectours’ excursions that are founded on strong sustainability principles. The company is working closely with tour operators on good environmental and social practices and encouraging certification to Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) – accredited programmes.

Through its extensive approach to whale-safe practice, complemented by its wider sustainability policies, MSC Cruises has helped mitigate the potential impacts of cruise liners on the environment, and received the Friend of the Sea Whale-Safe Award.

To learn more about the Friend of the Sea Whale-Safe Award and whale ship collisions, a webinar hosted by Simone Panigada, president at the Tethys Research Institute, Roberto Lombardi, a marine biologist at Friend of the Sea, and Captain Wolfram Guntermann, director of regulatory affairs at Hapag-Lloyd can be viewed here.

To apply for the Whale-Safe certification and award, please contact Friend of the Sea at info@friendofthesea.org