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NEWS
NOAA Recommends New Ship Routes
November 17, 2006

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this week urged ship captains to use new recommended routes when entering or leaving the Florida ports of Jacksonville and Fernandina, and Brunswick, Ga., as well as in Cape Cod Bay off Massachusetts. These new routes are expected to reduce the chances of ship strikes with endangered right whales.

The recommended routes take into account safety and economic impact to the mariner. Although the routes are voluntary, they will appear on both electronic and paper NOAA nautical charts no later than November 30. The new designations will help mariners decrease whale strikes by reducing vessel activity in areas frequented by ships and whales.

In this latest effort to provide recommended ship traffic routes, mariners will be alerted to the routes in a U.S. Coast Guard Local Notice to Mariners. The routes can be found on updated electronic versions of the Massachusetts Bay nautical charts that can be downloaded at www.noaa.gov/charts.html.

NOAA Fisheries Service urges those traversing the areas to use the routes, and reminds mariners about the mandatory ship reporting systems, which are also designed to help reduce the threat of collisions between whales and ships. NOAA also reminds mariners that right whale alerts, whale locations and ship speed advisories are provided through various maritime media. Information about avoiding ship strikes can be found at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike.


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