Blue speeds for shipping campaign

Blue speeds for shipping campaign

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
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Dates / Project duration

January 2023 - December 2026 / 4 years

Field of action :

Conservation of endangered species

Branch :


Location :

France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Monaco, Gibraltar, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium

Project sponsor(s) :

International Fund for Animal Welfare

Reducing ship speed ("blue speed") is a concrete, feasible and easy-to-implement measure that the shipping industry can take to reduce three major environmental pressures: underwater noise, ship collisions and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Limiting the speed of commercial vessels to 75% of their maximum speed, a reduction of around 10% in their effective speed, would reduce underwater noise by 40%, the risk of collision with whales by 50% and greenhouse gas emissions by 13%.

Initially focused on European waters, the Blue Speed campaign is the result of several years of work by IFAW to encourage governments, the shipping industry and ports to work together to bring about effective and sustainable change. The goal is to significantly reduce man-made underwater noise and the risk of ship-whale collisions. The political and public response to the climate emergency also provides an opportunity to highlight the benefits of this initiative to help the shipping industry meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

European waters are the primary target of this campaign as they host some of the world's busiest shipping lanes and a significant number of major international ports. European waters are also home to a whale population that is highly vulnerable to ship strikes and the effects of underwater noise. Focusing the campaign on this key area provides an opportunity to achieve a reduction in ship speeds in the region first, which can then drive change on a global scale.