FERRY OPERATOR DFDS AND MARINE CONSERVATION CHARITY ORCA HAVE RECORD-BREAKING SEASON FOR NORTH SEA CONSERVATION PROGRAMME
The ORCA marine conservation charity has had a record year in the North Sea as part of a long-running environmental education programme on-board DFDS’ Newcastle to Amsterdam route.
The charity have been placing Wildlife Officers aboard DFDS’ cruise ferry King Seaways for eleven years, monitoring marine life whilst talking to passengers about the diverse wildlife to be seen in the North Sea.
During the 2018 season, over 35,100 passengers engaged with the ORCA education programme on-board King Seaways, which is 10,000 more than in 2017 (an increase of almost 30%). In August 2018 alone, over 12,683 passengers took part – which is more than 50% of the total number of participants in 2017.
ORCA Wildlife Officers live on board the ship as it sails to and from Newcastle to Amsterdam, delivering passenger presentations, running deck watches and organising games and activities to highlight the importance of the North Sea as a marine habitat.
ORCA’s Education Coordinator Anna Bunney, who manages the programme, said: "It’s astonishing the level of interest that we’ve seen in ORCA’s partnership with DFDS in 2018 and we’re delighted to have beaten our previous records for passenger engagement. The programme in the North Sea gives us an amazing opportunity to talk about our work and show people how rich the waters around the UK and Europe are for wildlife.”
During the 2018 season, passengers have been treated to over 2,000 marine wildlife sightings, including 902 harbour porpoises, 30 bottlenose dolphins, 74 minke whales, 225 grey seals and 652 acrobatic white-beaked dolphins.
A catalyst that has helped to boost the numbers this year was the opening of a brand new ORCA Wildlife Centre aboard the ship in March. This dedicated space, which is perfectly placed in the observation lounge at the front of the ship, sits immediately below the outdoor deck and has more than twice the space of ORCA’s previous base on the vessel.
The extra space and more relaxed atmosphere has meant up to 100 guests at a time can join ORCA presentations. Those visiting are spending on average almost 90 minutes in the centre, which is more than double the length of visit seen in previous years.
DFDS Senior Campaign Manager, Stephen House, said: “Our investment in the new ORCA space has done exactly as we hoped, enabling more of our customers to experience the fantastic ORCA programme that not only helps to educate participants, but gives them some entertainment whilst on board.”
This year DFDS also extended the ORCA programme to selected crossings on its Newhaven – Dieppe route for the first time, with great success.
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DFDS is Northern Europe's largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of around 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships.
DFDS 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, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe.
DFDS has been named the 'World's Leading Ferry Operator' for the last 7 years (2011-2017) as well as 'Europe's Leading Ferry Operator' (2012-18).
DFDS currently operates up to 54 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes. DFDS also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam. In addition, the DFDS 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, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, visit
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