MSC Cruises has partnered with marine conservation charity ORCA to deliver a comprehensive ship strike mitigation programme for the cruise line’s deck officers.
This is aimed at reducing the likelihood of collisions with whales, dolphins and porpoises worldwide.
Bridge officers on board ’MSC Bellissima’ (pictured) are the first to participate in the online training programme. The ship is currently sailing in the Mediterranean from her homeport of Genoa and was chosen as the pilot vessel based on her navigation through the Pelagos Sanctuary, a large area of 87,500 sq km of water and 2,022 km of coastline that is home to numerous marine species.
The plan is to educate the ship’s navigators about the marine mammals they may encounter on any given voyage, as well as the best practices for avoiding potential ship strikes.
Capt Minas Myrtidis, Vice President Environmental Operations & Compliance, 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.”
Once the ’MSC Bellissima’ trials have been completed, the e-learning course will be rolled out across the entire MSC Cruises’ fleet of 21 ships and added to the newbuilding ’MSC Euribia’ that is due to start operations in June of this year in Northern Europe.
This ship, similar to the line’s most recent vessels, will be fitted with propeller blades that incorporate a system that adds air bubbles around the propeller to balance the pressure environment. This and other measures, including insulation to reduce noise and vibration from mechanical equipment, helps to minimise the negative impact on the marine environment, especially sea mammals.
Last year, MSC Cruises re-routed its ships off the west coast of Greece to reduce the risk of collision with endangered sperm whales in the Mediterranean.