08 November 2017

Freight Vessels Reminded that Speed Limits in Place to Protect Whales  

Authorities Ask Skippers to be Aware of Right Whales on the Move

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Shipping News Feature US ATLANTIC SEABOARD – In an effort to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reiterated the established regulations implementing a mandatory 10-knot speed restriction for all vessels 65 feet (19.8 metres) or longer in certain locations along the east coast of the US Atlantic seaboard.

We have published in previous years the routes and limits applicable when in the vicinity of these magnificent creatures during the season, whilst pointing out the benefits that the trend towards slow steaming has brought to the animals. Earlier this year two container shipping lines, MSC and COSCO received plaudits for their A+ ratings when adopting this practice. Now skippers are reminded that the speed restriction extends out to 20 nautical miles around major mid-Atlantic ports and also applies in waters off New England and the south eastern US. The current trend of slow steaming

Restrictions apply in the following locations at the specified times and are based on times whales are known to be in these areas:

  • Southeastern US from St. Augustine, FL. to Brunswick, GA from November 15 to April 15
  • Mid-Atlantic U.S. areas from Brunswick, GA to Rhode Island from November 1 to April 30
  • Off Race Point at northern end of Cape Cod from March 1 to April 30
  • Great South Channel of New England from April 1 to July 31

For more information about the speed restriction, or in the unfortunate event of your vessel striking a whale, please visit the NOAA website HERE.

Photo: NOAA/NEFSC

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