The world's largest container shipping company MSC Group announced it would adjust the routes of its cruise and cargo ships in the Eastern Mediterranean in order to avoid collision with sperm whales, which are in danger of extinction.
MSC will modify itineraries on the west coast of Greece to reduce the risk of collision with the endangered species.
The decision to move the vessels away from the critical habitat of ~300 sperm whales was made following an environmental NGO coalition approached MSC Group. After a variety of studies identified critical habitats of the whales in Greece west and south of the Peloponnese and southwest of Crete, the decision to adjust the routes was crucial for saving them. This was indicated in the research in collaboration with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), WWF Greece, and OceanCare.
The area of concern is one of the major container transport routes and the agreed change of route is due to contribute substantially to the survival of the endangered whales. MSC Cruises ships use the Eastern Mediterranean route to sail to Greek destinations and, following detailed discussions based on scientific research, modifications were made to the routes from mid-April through to October when the cruises operate.
Stefania Lallai, Vice President of Sustainability at MSC said:
"As a world leader in the maritime sector in logistics and container transport, we have a responsibility to ensure that our cargo operations have a positive impact, reflecting our long-standing commitment to the conservation and protection of the oceans and marine fauna.
"Cooperating with partner NGOs is critical to understanding and taking action to protect endangered sperm whales off Greek coasts."