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Collisions between cetaceans and ships, known as “ship strikes”, are considered the major threat for whales. In order to motivate shipping and cruise lines to comply with existing slowdown regulations and rapidly introduce onboard systems to further reduce risk of ship strikes, Friend of the Sea has carried out a study to analyze and rank shipping and cruise lines’ engagement to reduce whale ship strikes.

Save the Whales Campaign

Data has been collected from companies’ websites, sustainability reports and direct contact with the sustainability managers, when available. Companies have been ranked based on their level of engagement; compliance with slowdown areas; initiatives to reduce noise pollution; onboard full time observation program; appropriate reporting. Scores have been subtracted to those companies for which evidence of whale strikes had been reported in the past.

Save the Whales Campaign

The top 20 shipping and cruise lines operators have been included in the assessment. However, the ranking is open also to other smaller companies, which could be interested to participate. None of the assessed companies seem to follow slowdown programs covering all global areas where the risk of whale strikes is highest. Approximately 50% of them express a certain level of engagement, while the remaining seem to be not involved at all in slowdown programs and not really concerned about the issue.

Companies interested to be included in the ranking or willing to provide updates on their policies, should
write to

The Problem

Until recently, the greatest threat to cetaceans was considered to be the direct take by the whaling industry or as bycatch.

However, collisions between cetaceans and ships, known as “ship strikes”, are now considered to be the major threat.

Crews are often unaware that a collision has taken place. Most dead whales sink to the bottom of the sea and only maybe 10% are washed ashore. It’s a silent massacre.

Watch Our Video on Save the Whales!


The worldwide shipping is doubling every 10 years, carrying a lethal impact on whales. Experts estimate that at least 20.000 whales are killed struck by cargo, cruise and fishing ships.  Fatal collision rates in areas like the Mediterranean Sea and Sri Lanka have almost doubled in the past 40 years and whale populations have reduced by more than 50%.

Human-induced mortality caused by ship strikes can be an impediment to whale’s population growth. Populations in the low hundreds of individuals are at risk of continuing declines even if only a small number of ship strikes occur per year. Therefore, it is important to identify populations that are small, in decline, or for which human activities result in whale deaths or injuries.


Effective results in critical areas are urgent. For this, mitigation actions need to be conducted collaboratively. Monitoring and understanding the effects of shipping on our oceans is essential to focus efforts on mitigating the externalities generated by the activity, and to direct shipping companies towards more sustainable transport.

Friend of the Sea, a program to promote products and services which respect the marine habitat, decided to launch an awareness campaign and award those shipping operators which implement measures to prevent whales ship-strikes”.

Friend of the Sea urges ship owners and governments to implement measures to prevent whales ship-strikes: a combination of thermal cameras, online reporting systems, shift in shipping lanes.  Cruise lines, ship operators and fishing fleets which will implement these measures, will be identifiable by the Friend of the Sea WHALE-SAFE logo. In turn, everybody can help protecting whales by choosing Friend of the Sea certified operators.

How you can help save the whales

You can support the Save the Whales campaign by signing the petition, which will help Friend of the Sea convince SHIPPING AND CRUISE LINE OPERATORS to make a change benefit both the SHIPPING industry and conservation.

If we all work together, we can save the magnificent Whales from extinction.

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