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Ships traveling at lower speeds through Santa Barbara channel would have less impact on whales.

John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research

Ships traveling at lower speeds through Santa Barbara channel would have less impact on whales.


Whale and Air Protections Go Up


A mutually beneficial speed-reduction program through Santa Barbara Channel to reduce air pollution and whale strikes boasts participation by some of the largest shipping companies in the world. Up from seven in 2014, 10 shipping companies have agreed to move at 12 knots or less, with 75 percent of the enrolled transits achieving that goal this July and August. Companies like Maersk of Copenhagen and CMA DGM of Marseille — largest and third largest in the world — receive $1,500-$2,500 for going slow, with a $1,250 bonus for 10 knots or less, among other criteria. Crews for Japan’s K Line have noted whale sightings as well. The county states ocean shipping accounts for 50 percent of its nitrogen oxide (NOx) air pollution, which is reduced by slower speeds. That also increases efficiency in burning bunker fuel oil, a savings needed by an industry hit hard by overcapacity, according to The Economist. The seventh-largest company, Hanjin, declared bankruptcy in August.

The ships normally run at about 15-16 knots, Mary Byrd with the county’s Air Pollution Control District said, with the bonuses paid to qualifying runs by those that had previously cruised at 14 knots or more. This year’s program has about $173,000 to dispense, with 367 applications already in hand, funded by the Santa Barbara and Ventura air pollution districts, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and the Volgenau Foundation, Byrd explained. The other shipping participants in the program are Evergreen (No. 5 in size worldwide, out of Taiwan), Hapag-Lloyd (No. 6, Hamburg), Hamburg Süd (No. 7, Hamburg), Yang Ming (No. 9, Taiwan), MOL (No. 11, Tokyo), NYK Line (No. 12, Tokyo), K Line (No. 16, Tokyo), and the cruise line Holland America. The rankings come from Alphaliner.com‘s Top 100.



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