Onboard interactive artwork unveiled to celebrate marine wildlife conservation
To celebrate five successful years of working with whale and dolphin charity ORCA and the recent re-launch of their Marine Wildlife mini cruise for the summer period, DFDS Seaways has created an interactive art display, which was unveiled in the wildlife centre onboard cruise ferry KING SEAWAYS yesterday (May 8).
The art display depicts a view of the North Sea, the River Tyne and other local landmarks, created by local artist Fiona Dunn. Year 4 school children from Highfield Community Primary School in Sunderland attended the unveiling to add their own drawings of marine wildlife and the threats wildlife face to the display. The art will become part of the onboard wildlife centre activities designed for passengers travelling with DFDS Seaways.
Sara Frost, ORCA wildlife officer, said: “The artwork is a great addition to the onboard wildlife centre and is something we can continue to build on with the passengers. It’s the perfect visual reminder of the fantastic wildlife living in the North Sea and the dangers they face from human activities.”
This project is the latest collaboration from DFDS Seaways and ORCA, which run several joint initiatives, including the Marine Wildlife mini cruises to Amsterdam. The wildlife mini cruises include a range of fun and educational activities and deck watches with professional wildlife officers from ORCA. DFDS Seaways also provides free travel from Newcastle to Amsterdam to ORCA volunteers conducting vital monthly marine mammal surveys along the route and support the Your Seas outreach project which engages with local schools in the region.
Since working together, ORCA has recorded over 400 sightings of around 830 marine mammals from DFDS Seaways’ cruise ferries, King Seaways, Princess Seaways and Sirena Seaways. A further 175 sightings of over 260 marine mammals have been spotted by onboard wildlife officers carrying out deck watches with passengers. Around nine different species have been spotted, including Harbour porpoises, white-beaked dolphins, Minke whales and grey seals.
Max Foster, UK passenger director at DFDS Seaways, said: “We strongly believe in the importance of protecting the marine environment in which we operate, which is why we have chosen to work with ORCA to help raise awareness of the fascinating and diverse marine life that can be found in the North Sea, and also why we fund the wildlife officers who work onboard KING SEAWAYS from April to mid September.”
The data collected on the surveys and during casual sightings from passenger deck watches all goes towards assisting the UK Government to meet its monitoring obligations for whales and dolphins under the EU Habitats Directive. The data also feeds into the Government’s Joint Cetacean Protocol initiative, which monitors distribution, abundance and population trends of the cetacean species.
Sara Frost added: “In the last year we have doubled the number of surveys we carry out on the Newcastle to Amsterdam route so we can now provide even more opportunities for our volunteers to get involved in marine monitoring in the local areas, which will make the data we collect on this route much more robust.
“The wildlife officer programme onboard also contributes crucial casual sightings data for this area as well as raising awareness of marine life conservation to passengers travelling with DFDS Seaways.”
DFDS Seaways and ORCA work in partnership on the Your Seas project which works with local communities and young people to make a positive impact on the marine environment by inspiring a new generation to change their behaviour and take an active part in conservation.
For further information about DFDS Seaways and ORCA or to book a Marine Wildlife mini cruise visit www.dfds.co.uk/ORCA or call 0871 522 9976 .
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About DFDS Seaways
DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships. DFDS Seaways prides itself on offering world-class facilities and services and the widest choice of ferry routes into northern Europe.
In the UK, the company operates passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Harwich to Esbjerg, Newcastle to Amsterdam, Newhaven to Dieppe and Portsmouth to Le Havre.
DFDS Seaways has been named the ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for the last two years (2011-12), as well as ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ at the prestigious 2012 World Travel Awards. It was also the only recommended ferry operator nominated by Which? Travel (2011).
DFDS Seaways operates up to 44 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes and two daily services on the Portsmouth to Le Havre crossing. It also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam and up to four crossings a week between Harwich and Esbjerg in Denmark. In addition, the DFDS Seaways network includes a passenger and freight service between Newhaven to Dieppe, which has four daily sailings and is operated by Transmanche Ferries. For further information about DFDS Seaways, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, visit www.dfds.co.uk.