718 - 09/10 - Whale activity - California, USA

The Association would like to inform Members that a large number of whales have recently been reported in the Santa Barbara channel; ships in this area should remain vigilant.

A container ship arrived at the Port of Oakland with a dead whale lodged in its bulbous bow. Marine Biologists believe that the whale was struck somewhere between Los Angeles and Oakland. Significant numbers of large whales have recently been sighted in the Santa Barbara channel and the traffic separation scheme (TSS) between Point Conception and Point Dume.

Large whales are listed as endangered species and are protected under Federal Law. Mariners are advised to keep a lookout for whales and are strongly advised not to exceed speeds of 10 knots when transiting areas known to be populated by whales. It is believed that, if a ship hits a whale at 10 knots or less, there is a greater chance that there will be no injury to the whale.

Please report any collisions with whales or any observed live, injured or dead whales, including time and position to NOAA at 877-SOS-WHALES 877-767- 9425 or to the US Coast Guard. 

Ships are urged to proceed with caution when transiting the Santa Barbara channel.

Source of information: George Radu, Thomas Miller (Americas)

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