​Doug Allan officially opens new wildlife centre on board King Seaways

  • Launch event marks the start of the 2015 ORCA season
  • Event attended by local school Southridge First School

Renowned cameraman and explorer, Doug Allan, has today officially opened the new wildlife centre on board the DFDS ship, King Seaways. The opening of the ship’s new centre coincides with the launch of its seventh annual wildlife-spotting season, together with marine conservation charity ORCA.

As well as officially opening the new centre, Doug, who has worked alongside Sir David Attenborough on wildlife programmes including Life, Human Planet and Blue Planet, delivered an inspirational talk about the importance of knowing your local marine wildlife. He discussed protecting marine species and their habitats and recalled his own experience of seeing dolphins and whales in the wild. Doug also presented the onboard marine wildlife centre with a photograph of a hump back whale, which now takes pride of place.

Wildlife Artist Rory McCann also unveiled his mural of the North Sea Cetaceans at the event. The mural resides in the new ORCA centre alongside Doug’s photograph as well as photographs of sea birds, which were generously donated by ORCA patrons and BBC Two’s wildlife presenter, Chris Packham and wildlife photographer Mark Carwadine.

The event was attended by children from Southridge First School who, following Doug’s presentation and Q&A session, participated in a variety of wildlife themed activities.

Commenting on the latest ORCA season and the launch of the new centre Doug Allan, said: “It is a pleasure to be involved in launching the new marine wildlife centre, which herald’s the start of the wildlife mini cruise season. Raising awareness of marine preservation is a subject close to my heart and the work that ORCA and DFDS do to help educate passengers about important conservation issues is crucial for the protection of our marine environment..

“The North Sea has been a constant presence in my life, having grown up in Scotland. I believe that the more people are aware of the amazing marine wildlife in the seas surrounding our Island, the better chance we have of preserving and protecting it. The new ORCA wildlife centre is very inspiring and perfectly equipped for delivering this important message in a fun, interactive way.”

Max Foster, passenger director at DFDS, comments, “We are delighted to open our new wildlife centre and celebrate the fantastic seven-year relationship we have with ORCA. This partnership has not only helped to gather valuable data on the marine wildlife in our seas, but also offers our passengers and crew a real insight into the fantastic species that are right here on our doorstep. The new centre will offer a great experience for passengers, and we are so pleased to have inspirational people, such as Doug Allan, involved in today’s launch.”

Rachael Forster, ORCA wildlife officer, comments, “Our continued partnership with DFDS, via the wildlife officer programme, has helped us collect a huge amount of valuable data over the last seven years. We hope the inspiring words from Doug Allan and the launch of the new wildlife centre today will encourage more young people to take an interest in marine wildlife throughout their lives.”

Wildlife mini cruises with DFDS

As part of the wildlife spotting season, marine wildlife mini cruises are available for passengers on board the King SEAWAYS. The two-night mini cruises combine relaxing cruise-style travel from Newcastle to Amsterdam, with guided deck watches and seminars and activity sessions led by ORCA trained officers.

In 2014, a phenomenal number and variety of wildlife species were spotted on DFDS’ ferry route between Newcastle and Amsterdam, with 992 animals recorded between 1 April and 5 September 2014, including Minke Whales, White Beaked Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises. Through its partnership with DFDS, ORCA has been able to record marine life activity in the North Sea using dedicated Marine Mammal surveys as well as promote ocean conservation to passengers via the wildlife officer programme.

For further information about DFDS and ORCA or to book a wildlife mini cruise visit www.dfds.co.uk or call 0871 574 7235.

For people interested to learn more about ORCA’s wildlife officer programme, Your Seas project and how to get involved in the North Sea monitoring project, visit www.orcaweb.org.uk.

- ENDS –

For media enquiries contact:
Chelsey Palmer or Caroline Walker on 01732 779087 / dfdspr@westgatecomms.com

Notes to Editors

About wildlife mini cruises

Passengers keen to spot wildlife in the North Sea with DFDS, can book now for this year’s summer season. DFDS runs wildlife mini cruise packages, from £36 per person based on four people sharing, including two nights’ accommodation on board the luxury cruise ferry and coach transfers to and from Amsterdam city centre.

In addition to wildlife deck-watches and ‘Wine and Whale’ seminars, passengers can indulge in delicious food from one of the four onboard restaurants, before heading to one of the bars to enjoy live entertainment, or take in a movie in the cinema. Passengers can then unwind in the comfort of their own en-suite cabin and enjoy a restful night’s sleep before waking up feeling refreshed and ready to explore the delights of Amsterdam.

For further information about DFDS and ORCA or to book a wildlife mini cruise visit www.dfds.co.uk or call 0871 574 7235.

About DFDS

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 four years (2011-14), as well as ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ at the prestigious 2014 World Travel Awards. It was also the only recommended ferry operator nominated by Which? Travel (2011).

DFDS operates up to 44 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes.  It 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 www.dfds.co.uk.

About ORCA

ORCA is one of Europe’s leading whale & dolphin conservation charities. ORCA was formed in 2000, providing opportunities for people to actively contribute to marine conservation for 12 years.

ORCA is committed to the study of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) conducting surveys throughout the year on ferry routes covering the Bay of Biscay, the North Sea, the Irish Sea and the English Channel.

For more information, visit www.orcaweb.org.uk.


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