[MARMAM] New paper on ship strikes between sailing vessels & cetaceans worldwide

Fabian Ritter, MEER e.V. ritter at m-e-e-r.de
Sat Jul 21 04:09:42 PDT 2012

Dear fellow Marmamers,

we are pleased to announce the publication of the following paper in the 
latest volume of the Journal of Cetacean Research and Management:

Ritter, F. (2012). Collisions of sailing vessels with cetaceans 
worldwide: First insights into a seemingly growing problem.
Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, 12(1): 119-127.

Vessel-whale collisions are of growing concern worldwide, but 
information about collisions involving sailing vessels is especially 
scarce. This study represents the first global quantification of this 
kind. A total of 111 collisions and 57 near misses were identified, 
spanning from 1966 until 2010; 75% of cases was reported for the period 
from 2002–2010, suggesting an increasing trend. Reported collisions and 
near misses occurred on all oceans, often during ocean races and 
regattas, and were most frequent in the North Atlantic. Vessel type and 
speed as well as circumstances of the incident varied widely, but most 
often monohulls were involved, predominantly sailing at speeds between 5 
and 10 knots. Most reports referred to ‘large whales’ as opposed to 
‘small whales’ or ‘dolphins’. The species could be identified in 54 
cases. Most recognised animals were humpback or sperm whales. Injuries 
to the whales varied strongly from ‘not visible’ to ‘dead after 
collision’, but mostly could not be determined. Sailing crew members 
were hurt in several cases, including collisions occurring at low 
speeds, and collisions often damaged vessels, including major impairment
and seven cases of vessel loss. The findings presented here suggest that 
elevated vessel speed contributes to a higher risk of collisions. 
Conversely, the outcome of a collision (e.g. injury to whale or crew, 
damage to vessel) appears not to be a direct function of vessel speed. 
Several measures are discussed which potentially can contribute to 
mitigating the problem, including placing watchposts, an open dialogue 
with regatta organisers, changes in the design of regattas and ocean 
races and public outreach initiatives.

Please let us know if you are interested in receiving a pdf copy by 
sending an email to: info at m-e-e-r.de

Best greetings,


Fabian Ritter

M.E.E.R. e.V.
Bundesallee 123
D-12161 Berlin

T/F: (0)30-644 97 230
e-Mail: info at m-e-e-r.de


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