BIMCO partners with ORCA to offer members discounted access to ship strike training

Published: 28 May 2024

At BIMCO we believe seafarer training could significantly reduce the likelihood of whale strikes by equipping seafarers with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to prevent such incidents – as well as becoming more aware of the importance of preventing whale strikes to support both conservation efforts but to ensure safety of the ship and those on board.  We are delighted to be joining with ORCA to offer members access to a comprehensive programme designed to educate seafarers about the impact of ship strike on whales, and help to signpost opportunities for reducing the risk of collision.

Why whale strike training is important?  

Across the ocean there are numerous areas where ships and cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) co-exist and with this comes the risk that the two will literally collide. Whilst most cetacean populations shrank during the industrial whaling era there have been promising signs of recovery for many since the global moratorium on hunting large whales in 1986. This has seen some species including Southern right whales and humpback whales increase at rapid rate but others such as North Atlantic right whales and western North Pacific gray whales each number just a few hundred animals.  In parallel, shipping has seen significant growth – with more ships, bigger ships and faster ships traversing the ocean. We now have a situation where ship strikes (collisions between ships and whales) occur throughout the world’s oceans, where ship strikes are increasing and where they are hampering the recovery of certain endangered whale species.  

There are three primarily conservation measures that are typically used to protect cetaceans from ship strikes. Firstly, re-routing ships away from areas of importance for those cetaceans (such as breeding, feeding or migratory routes)- this simply reduces the chance of the whale and ship being in the same place and the same time. Secondly, asking ships to slow down- this can reduce the risk of a strike somewhat but primarily reduces the risk of any strike being lethal. Thirdly, seafarer awareness at training- well-trained seafarers are better equipped to prevent whale strikes and to respond effectively if such unfortunate incidents do occur. 

That is why we are joining with ORCA to offer discounted access to BIMCO members who wish to offer training to their seafarers on avoiding whale strikes. The innovative online course provides: 

  • An overview of ship strike and the impact that it can have on different marine mammal species 
  • A summary of the species at highest risk of ship strike, including information on identifying them and understanding their different behaviours 
  • An outline of best practice measures for reducing the risk of collision, including guidance to help seafarers make decisions when they encounter whales 
  • An overview of management measures in place in key ship strike hotspots, including IMO-mandated restrictions and key considerations when navigating through areas with management measures in place. 

Ship strikes pose a huge threat to whales, but ship strikes are not inevitable. ORCA believes that one of the most effective ways we have of protecting whales is by working with seafarers, so we have developed this course with our shipping partners to provide practical and achievable steps to reduce collision risk. We are excited to offer our training courses to the BIMCO community to further inspire and work alongside seafarers across the globe and throughout the shipping industry to help protect whales for future generations” – Anna Bunney, Head of Education & Ship Strike Lead, ORCA.  

BIMCO pride ourselves on providing high quality training to our members to allow them to excel within their business activities. Where we cannot offer this training ourselves we seek to work with reputable partners to fill the gaps. Working with ORCA provides our members access to flexible and high-quality training on ship strikes- a hugely important issue which threatens the survival of a number of cetacean species all over the globe” – Peter Grube, Head of Training, BIMCO. 

For more information please contact ORCA directly via info@orca.org.uk or visit their website here – and don’t forget to let them know you are BIMCO members.  

Strategic partners ORCA whales


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Beverley Mackenzie


Dr. Bev Mackenzie

Head of Intergovernmental Engagement

London, United Kingdom