Conservationists have welcomed an announcement by MSC, the world’s biggest container shipping line, that its ships will detour around a key feeding and nursing ground for blue whales off Sri Lanka’s southern coast. Ship strikes are a leading cause of death for the large whales that frequent the waters around Sri Lanka, which also include to a lesser extent sperm whales and Bryde’s whales.

Marine conservationist Asha de Vos says other shipping lines should follow MSC’s lead, and has also called on the Sri Lankan government to propose making the shipping lane change permanent.

She also says whale deaths from ship strikes may be up to 10 times higher than recorded, given that current and wind conditions are more likely to wash carcasses out to sea than toward shore, making them less likely to be detected

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