Hapag-Lloyd receives Whale-Safe Award 2022

We are happy to announce that the non-governmental organization “Friend of the Sea” have named Hapag-Lloyd as the international shipping company most committed to reducing the risk of whale ship strikes. In recognition of our engagement, we have been presented with the “Whale-Safe Award 2022“ for shipping lines.

We have won this award for actively promoting and implementing measures to avoid whale ship accidents and our sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources. Every year, numerous whales are killed or maimed as a result of ship strikes. These collisions are a major threat for whale species worldwide, including the blue whale, humpback whale and sperm whale (all listed as endangered), as well as the North Atlantic right whale (listed as critically endangered). Many of these accidents go unnoticed. In addition to the danger of collisions, the engines produce underwater noise that can stress whales and disrupt their hearing and communication. This can have negative impact on their feeding and breeding behavior.

Captain Wolfram Guntermann, Director Regulatory Affairs at Hapag-Lloyd

“We are truly honoured to have been granted the Whale-Safe Award. Hapag-Lloyd is aware of the impact that shipping has on whales and endangered species. To protect them, we reduce our vessels’ speed in many high-risk regions, and we strictly follow the established ATBAs (areas to be avoided), where many whales are found.”

Unfortunately, until now many of the world’s busiest shipping lanes directly overlap with routes whales swim through between their feeding and breeding grounds. Separating shipping lanes from areas where whales are most likely to be found would be the best solution, but certainly not easy to be implemented. The next best measure is to slow down the ships’ speeds so that whales have a chance to avoid them. Reducing speed can drastically reduce the number of fatal collisions and also lower noise pollution. However, unfortunately this measure is not completely safe since collisions with sleeping whales can also occur.

The Whale-Safe Award is designed to raise more awareness for this situation. Friend of the Sea is calling on our industry to extend mandatory slowdown procedures and to introduce full-time observation and appropriate reporting systems of any whale strikes on board the vessels. Hapag-Lloyd has already implemented appropriate reporting systems in case whale strikes should be observed.

Our organisation sees it as its responsibility to protect the waters we are navigating in. As part of our sustainability strategy and whale protection engagement we participate in various programs, partner with NGOs and authorities such as the Blue Whales and Blue Skies programme and the ECHO Programme for the protection of orcas. We are actively engaged with the World Shipping Council (WSC) with whom we are actively promoting the optimization of the existing traffic separation scheme (TSS) off the southern coast of Sri Lanka in favor of the protection of blue whales.

The certification logo of Friend of the Sea

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