Warning to Faroe Islands
Ambassador CEO Christian Verhounig has written to Faroese Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen stating that if there are ‘recurring incidents of dolphin hunting, as took place in September 2021,’ he will ‘reconsider the cruise line’s position and planned three future sailings to the Islands.’
He explained, ‘Tourism is one of the key drivers of commercial whaling and consuming whale meat poses a significant human health risk. In all of our communications to our cruise guests we will advise them to avoid consuming this product in destinations that they visit. We have also taken the decision not to include any excursions to oceanariums or experiences that involve captive marine mammals.’
He went on to add, ‘This joined up approach with ORCA demonstrates our committed action in addressing this issue of unnecessary dolphin hunts and commercial whaling and to encourage change.’
The line will be monitoring the outcome of a review scheduled to be undertaken by the Faroes government on its commercial whaling policy and says it reserves the right to cancel ports of call where it is deemed any activity contradicts the cruise line’s pledge. The approach was developed on advice from ORCA and other global experts. ‘We are particularly confident that this represents the best approach to maximise impact, and we hope our campaign will result in a measurable effect on the commercial whaling industry and that the incident that took place on 12 September 2021 will never happen again,’ added the CEO.
‘We also have confidence that if activities take place which force us to reconsider our sailings and change our itineraries, our booked guests will understand and fully support our decision.’
ORCA ocean conservation sailings
As part of the collaboration with ORCA, two of the charity’s ocean conservationists will sail onboard Ambience in 2022 and 2023 on 11 sailings - a large proportion of Ambassador’s voyages, totalling over 200 days. They will join passengers in sailing countries such as Iceland, Greenland, the Iberian coast, Black Sea and Irish Sea in order to collect important scientific data in key areas while delivering informative educational and wildlife experiences.
Two of the 11 sailings are multi-generational and take place next summer; for these, ORCA will provide a multi-gen focussed educational programme, working with families to teach them about the marine environment and involving them in conservation projects onboard the vessel.
ORCA will also have a permanent presence on Ambience with a dedicated enrichment area that includes a range of exciting activities on whales and dolphins, including: educational material focussed on whales and dolphins, including the ORCA OceanWatchers app so passengers can get involved in ocean conservation directly; and models of whales, dolphins and porpoises, and replica whale and dolphin bones.
‘The work we will be doing together will have a direct impact on protecting whales and dolphins,’ commented Steve Jones, head of partnerships, ORCA, ‘And after spending a lot of time with the team at Ambassador, it’s clear that they care passionately about protecting the marine environment.
‘This new partnership shows the positive impact that businesses can have, and we can’t wait to get started when Ambience sets sail in 2022.’