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Costa participates in Whalesafe Project

Costa participates in Whalesafe Project

Costa Cruises plans activities on its ships and at the Savona Palacrociere terminal to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the sperm whale.

This springs from Costa's partnership with the Whalesafe Project, co-funded by the European Union’s Life+ Program. Other partners include the Università degli Studi di Genova's departments of physics, earth sciences, environment and life, Genoa Maritime Directorate, Savona Harbor Master’s Office and Softeco.

On Costa ships, activities in The Squok Club will help children learn to recognize the different species of whales that live in the Pelagos Sanctuary. This protected marine area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers was created in 2001 by France, Italy and Monaco. Whale sightings are common on cruises in this part of the Mediterranean. 

Guided by shipboard personnel trained by experts from Genova Aquarium, children will learn how to recognize the different species and even individual whales by observing their dorsal fins.

In addition, a video about the Whalesafe Project will air on shipboard television.

Savona Palacrociere will present an exhibition in the terminal about the Pelagos Whale Sanctuary. This will cover eight species frequently found in the area including the sperm whale, fin whale, Cuvier’s beaked whale, Risso’s dolphin, pilot whale, common dolphin, striped dolphin and bottlenose dolphin.

Since August Costa has been surveying passengers who sail from Savona. Initial results based on a sample of 950 passengers show that virtually everybody agrees shipping constitutes a potential threat to the sperm whale and people support companies adopting a protocol of conduct to prevent whale strikes.

It also emerged that few people know about the Pelagos Sanctuary, highlighting the importance of increasing awareness.

The Whalesafe Project, begun last December, is a three-year project with a budget of approximately €1.8m including €920,000 in EU funding. Its main objective is to set up a system in the area immediately outside the Port of Savona with buoys that detect and track sperm whales, identify threats and prevent collisions and other risks by issuing warning messages in real time to ships in the area.

Plus, a protocol of conduct will be developed to reduce the risk of disturbing or striking whales. This will be done in cooperation with the Savona Harbor Master’s Office. When ships receive a warning message, they will be invited to follow the protocol of conduct and the Coast Guard will enforce it.

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