Recipients Respond to 'Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies' Awards

Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies Awards

Published Oct 1, 2020 1:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies program gave awards to 15 shipping companies for reducing speeds to 10 knots or less in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Santa Barbara Channel region in 2019. The voluntary program is an initiative to cut air pollution and protect endangered whales. The 2019 program ran from May 15, 2019 through November 15, 2019. Although COVID-19 public health guidelines prevented an in-person awards event, the companies received trophies, plaques, and certificates according to their levels of achievement.

Shipping companies received recognition and financial awards based on the percent of distance traveled by their vessels through the Vessel Speed Reduction (VSR) zones at 10 knots or less, and credit was only given if the average speed of a transit through an entire VSR Zone did not exceed 12 knots.

For more information about the program, visit  www.ourair.org/air-pollution-marine-shipping.

The program partners applaud the 2019 participating companies for their efforts. Representatives from shipping companies commented about their involvement in the 2019 program:

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC): Stanley Kwiaton, General Manager of Port Operations-West Coast: “As a responsible family company that was born out of a love of the sea, MSC has a longstanding commitment to marine and wildlife conservation. We are actively involved in a number of projects aimed at protecting marine ecosystems and we are especially proud to be recognised with the highest award for participating in this vessel speed reduction incentive program, striving to improve air quality, while protecting blue whales and other marine species.”

Polynesia Line: Mugurel Calin, Operations Manager for North America: “We are honored to receive this Award and to do our part in protecting endangered blue whales and the environment. As a subsidiary of The China Navigation Company and of the Swire Group, our aim is to create long-term value for our shareholders. The award affirms that we are on the right track to do so; as corporate citizens who care for sustainable development and to cause zero harm to our stakeholder communities and assets under our stewardship.”

COSCO: Hao Dong, President: "We are proud to sponsor and participate in the Vessel Speed Reduction program. Our contribution may be limited, but together we can make the difference in protecting and preserving the blue whale, as well all oceanic life. The ocean is our life-line in this industry: protecting it and all inhabitants are the only logical path for success."

Evergreen Marine Corporation: Eric Hsieh, President: "Evergreen is dedicated to providing the most eco-friendly container shipping services and to minimizing the environmental impact on marine life, port communities and humanity in general. We are therefore very proud to be a partner in the VSR program and are pleased to have been recognized by NOAA for achieving its high standard of performance over the last four years. We hope by foregoing the incentive payment offered we can provide a positive contribution to the program in the future."

NYK RORO: Jack Duesler, Area Operations Manager, Pacific Southwest: "It has been a pleasure working with NOAA and their affiliates in this program. The tier system is a great incentive that is difficult yet achievable. While we have yet to earn the prestigious Sapphire mark, we will keep analyzing our fleet and our movements and are convinced we will be able to reach it soon. We look forward to continue being involved in this program!"

K Line America: Lee Lara, General Manager, Pacific Southwest Region: "We are extremely proud to be a part of this program and grateful for the opportunity to be able to contribute in enhancing marine life conservancy and improving air quality. NOAA’s program coordinators must be commended for their tireless dedication and professionalism not only for making the program a huge success but more importantly for raising awareness."  

Maersk: Lee Kindberg, PhD, Head of Environment & Sustainability - North America: "The Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies program is unique… The coalition of participants and sponsors works together each year to achieve goals in both air quality and whale protection. Maersk has participated each year since 2014 and we appreciate the opportunity to continue to participate in this worthwhile effort."

Other companies who received awards include GALI, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, PIL, CMA CGM, Yang Ming, Hyundai Glovis, ONE and Matson.

The Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies program is a collaborative effort by Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District; Ventura County Air Pollution Control District; Bay Area Air Quality Management District; Channel Islands, Greater Farallones, and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries; The Volgenau Foundation; California Marine Sanctuary Foundation; National Marine Sanctuary Foundation; and Environmental Defense Center.

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.