Call to move Sri Lankan shipping channel south to save whales

Colombo: A non-government organisation (NGO) has called for containerlines to slow down when transiting south Sri Lanka and to transit the area further south to protect whales in the area.

Pigmy blue whales and other whales feed and breed in the area of the Indian Ocean just south of Sri Lanka. The same area is crossed by more than 5,000 ships per month. Not only do whales die from colliding with these ships, but the sound from the vessels affects breeding and the local ecosystem, according toFriend of the Sea’s director Paolo Bray

“An estimated 50 to 100 whales are struck to death each year by these vessels,” Bray said. “Pigmy blue whales could be led to extinction in the next few years if the shipping lines continue to ignore their impact.”

Friend of the Sea has urged the World Shipping Council and the top ten liner companies to immediately engage at slowing down their ships to less than 10 knots and move their lanes 15 miles south, possibly creating an area to be avoided.

“The World Shipping Council will be discussing the matter with member companies to consider what actions may be appropriate,” Bryan Wood-Thomas, vice president of the World Shipping Council said, adding: “We will reach out to the government of Sri Lanka to obtain their views on the matter.”


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. The route has to be changed , for a ship can be made, but a life cannot be created, there fore we as brainy animals have to look after the world, while making our technology worthwhile, for the betterment of all.

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