MSC will adjust ships routes in the Eastern Mediterranean to reduce the risk of collision with sperm whales

Jan 27, 2022

MSC will adjust the routes of its cargo and cruise ships in the Eastern Mediterranean to avoid collision with the sperm whales, which are in danger of extinction in this part of the world. The MSC Group, one of the main maritime transport and logistics operators, will modify its itineraries on the west coast of Greece to reduce the risk of collision with these endangered species.

The decision to move the ships away from the critical habitat of about 300 sperm whales was made after environmental NGO coalition approached the MSC Group. After various studies identified critical habitats of the whales in Greece west and south of the Peloponnese and southwest of Crete, the decision to adjust the ship's routes was crucial for saving them. This was also indicated in the research in collaboration with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), OceanCare and WWF Greece.

The area of concern is currently one of the main container transport routes, so the agreed change of route will contribute substantially to the survival of these endangered whales. MSC Cruises ships also use this Eastern Mediterranean route to travel to Greek destinations and, after detailed discussions based on scientific research, slight modifications have been made to the routes from mid-April to October when these cruises operate.

"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," said Stefania Lallai, Vice President of Sustainability at MSC.

"Cooperating with partner NGOs is critical to understanding and taking action to protect endangered sperm whales off Greek coasts." 

"With small changes to our routes we can support the conservation of this important population of sperm whales," said Linden Coppell, Chief Sustainability Officer for MSC Cruises.

 “By making small route changes, MSC is making a significant difference for these endangered whales. This population is under threat and even one collision with a ship is too many. Now we need other shipping companies to adopt a similar behavior: if all the maritime traffic that uses this area made these small adjustments, the risk of colliding with sperm whales would be reduced by almost 75%, "says the NGO.