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Ferry Speed Called Key To Collisions With Whales
By Wendy Heller, December 25, 2007 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Starbulletin.com

A worldwide study of the problem confirms that collisions are a greater risk when vessels are moving fast.

Almost half of 24 documented collisions between whales and ferries over a 30-year period involved fast ferries, researcher Mason Weinrich reported in 2004 to the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee.

His findings:

» 11 collisions involved ferries that travel 35 mph or faster.

» Six were with slower ferries.

» Seven were at unknown speeds.

Those statistics come from 1972-2002, but fast ferries were not in use until 1996, said David Mattila, science and rescue coordinator for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

With the Hawaii Superferry's Dec. 13 start, state waters become another location where humans will seek a balance between moving people quickly by boat and dodging the leviathans.

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