WORLD Shipping Council has launched the WSC Whale Chart, a navigational aid designed to reduce ship strikes.

The whale chart contains coordinates, graphics and measures to help seafarers plan voyages that minimise the risk of collisions with whales.

WSC said accidental collisions between ships and whales can occur wherever there is an overlap between whale activity and vessel traffic.

It said experience has shown that separating ships and whales is the most effective way to limit ship strikes.

In areas where separation is not possible, speed reductions can help mitigate the risk.

WSC said numerous international, regional, national and local regulations address speed restrictions, routing measures and areas to be avoided.

It claims the whale chart is the first global mapping of all the mandatory and voluntary governmental measures that aim to reduce harm to whales.

“With the WSC Whale Chart, seafarers will for the first time have a comprehensive global resource offering critical navigational coordinates and concise graphics to identify routing measures and areas subject to static speed restrictions designed to protect whales and other cetaceans,” WSC president and CEO John Butler said.

“We hope that by compiling this unique navigational aid, keeping it updated and making it available for free to all navigators, we can help reduce ship strikes and safeguard endangered whale populations across the globe.”

WSC launched the whale chart at the International Whales Protection Workshop in Geneva, organised by WSC and hosted by Mediterranean Shipping Company.

The chart is available for free online. WSC intends to update it regularly.