MSC Cruises has been selected for the Friend of the Sea 2022 Whale-Safe Award for 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 award,” explained Paolo Bray, Founder, and Director of Friend of the Sea.
In 2021, Friend of the Sea conducted a study assessing the extent of whale-safe efforts by shipping entities with MSC Cruises showcasing whale-safe engagement.
Concerning whale-safe technology, MSC Cruises vessels have been equipped with specially designed hulls, propellers, and noise suppression devices, aimed to 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.
Other environmental efforts from MSC include pledging to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, an emphasis on ecotourism through its "Protectours" excursions, and encouraging tour operators to earn certification to Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) accredited programs, among others.
"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," Friend of the Sea said in a statement.
Friend of the Sea cites recent empirical evidence which indicates 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 deaths as global shipping traffic expanded. 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 create change within the maritime industry.