Cargo Ships will be Paid to Slow Down to Avoid Hitting Whales

Cargo Ships will be Paid to Slow Down to Avoid Hitting Whales

Authorities concerned have come up with a new way by which shippers can avoid hitting whales. Under the unique incentive program, shippers will be paid to decrease speed when they pass through the Santa Barbara Channel.

In the channel, shipping lanes cross an important feeding area for migrating blue whales. The program is aimed at a number of cargo ships that pass to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on annual basis.

The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and the Santa Barbara Foundation has funded the speed reduction program and will be administered by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Firms will get $2,500 each time when they travel at low speeds and they pass through the Channel. As per the program, ships will be asked to cruise 12 knots or lesser than that throughout a 130-mile stretch from Point Conception to the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex.

Normally, the cruising speed is between 14 and 18 knots. It is the latest effort to prevent killings of a number of endangered blue, humpback and fin whales. So many whales are killed because of ship collision that their recovery is under threat.

By lowering the speed, giant mammals will get enough time to swim away from approaching ships. Authorities concerned will assess the effects of speed reduction program. It will also be assessed as to whether the shipping industry is interested in participating in this programme. After knowing their interest level, authorities concerned will think of moving on to a bigger plan.

"It's a very simple but clever solution: When you slow ships down you provide whale conservation and cleaner air for us to breathe here on shore", affirmed Kristi Birney, marine conservation analyst for the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center.

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