MSC Cruises partnered with Marine Conservation Charity ORCA to deliver a comprehensive ship strike mitigation program for the company's deck officers to reduce the likelihood of collisions with marine mammals (dolphins, porpoises, and whales) worldwide.
Bridge Officers onboard MSC Bellissima ship were the first to participate in the online training program. The liner is sailing in the Mediterranean from homeport Genoa/Milan (Italy) and was chosen as the pilot ship based on her navigation through the Pelagos Sanctuary (87,500 km2 of water and 2022 km of coastline), home to a wealth of marine species.
The plan is to educate people who work on the bridge about the marine mammals they might encounter on any given cruise, as well as the best practices for avoiding ship strikes.
Captain Minas Myrtidis (VP of MSC's environmental operations & compliance) said that by working together with ORCA they were 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 trial on Bellissima is finished, the e-learning course will be rolled fleetwide (on MSC's 21 vessels currently in operation) plus to the newbuild Euribia, due to launch in June 2023.
The liner, like the line’s most recent ships, will be fitted with propeller blades incorporating a system that adds air bubbles around the propeller in order to balance the pressure environment. This, along with other measures including insulation to reduce noise/vibration from mechanical equipment helps to minimize the negative impact on the marine environment.
In 2022, MSC re-routed its cruise vessels off Greece's west coast in order to reduce the risk of collision with endangered sperm whales in the Aegean/Eastern Mediterranean.