On World Oceans Day earlier this year, Corsica Ferries announced that it was equipping four of its vessels with cetacean tracking systems to avoid collisions with whales and other marine mammals during voyages.
Crew members are now to be trained in the surveillance and maintenance of the systems, which were installed voluntarily and have received the support of the World Wildlife Fund. Since June this summer, vessels Pascal Lota, Mega Express, Mega Expres Four and Mega Andrea have all been operating the high-tech equipment, which is designed to track the animals in real time and help avoid collisions. Accidents involving boats is the biggest manmade cause of mortality among large cetaceans.
The move is part of Corsica Ferries’ overall policy of responsible maritime activities, which began in 2007 with a collaboration between the ferry company and the ISPRA (Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research). This saw the creation of a cetacean tracking network and a partnership with the Marine Mammal Observers association. Corsica Ferries also works closely with CIMA (International Centre on Environmental Monitoring) and its Cetamus project.
“As a major actor in the transport of passengers in the Mediterranean, Corsica Ferries today affirms its commitment to defending the environment and protecting the biological heritage of the Mediterranean,” said President of Lota Maritime (Corsica Ferries) Pierre Mattei at the launch of the systems in June. “The waters that our vessels pass through are very rich and the works of the past 10 years by ISPRA and CIMA have revealed encouraging results with regards to the presence of cetaceans.”
Mattei added that if the results of these four new tracking systems prove positive and effective, Corsica Ferries will progressively equip its entire fleet.