Reducing whale-ship collisions by better estimating damages to ships

Collisions between ships and whales raise environmental, safety, and economic concerns. The management of whale-ship collisions, however, lacks a holistic approach, unlike the management of other types of wildlife-vehicle collisions, which have been more standardized for several years now. In particular, safety and economic factors are routinely omitted in the assessment of proposed mitigation solutions to ship strikes, possibly leading to under-compliance and a lack of acceptance from the stakeholders. In this study, we estimate the probability of ship damage due to a whale-ship collision. While the probability of damage is low, the costs could be important, suggesting that property damages are significant enough to be taken into consideration when assessing solutions. Lessons learned from other types of wildlife-vehicle collisions suggest that the whale-ship collision should be managed as wildlife-aircraft collisions. For several years, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) manages collisions between aircrafts and wildlife at the international level. We advocate that its United Nations counterpart, namely the International Maritime Organization (IMO), get more involved in the whale-ship collision management. Further research is needed to more precisely quantify the costs incurred to ships from damages caused by whale-ship collisions.


Whale-ship collision, Damage, Cost, FSA, Wildlife-vehicle collision, Risk assessment

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Sèbe Maxime, Kontovas Christos A., Pendleton Linwood (2020). Reducing whale-ship collisions by better estimating damages to ships. Science Of The Total Environment. 713. 136643 (7p.).,

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