Whether for tourism or oil transport, large vessels regularly traverse our oceans home to Earth's greatest abundance of biodiversity. The good news is they can do so without damaging marine ecosystems. CI is partnering with businesses and industries that rely on our oceans to show them how.
Caribbean Industry is Cruising More Carefully
In the Caribbean, ships are cruising carefully around Cozumel, Mexico. Nearly 3 million passengers each year board vessels headed to this island, one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. The Caribbean tourism industry, while welcoming the steady revenue, also recognizes its potential damaging effect on the spectacular coasts and marine life that are the regions main attractions.
Starting in April, representatives from cruise lines, trade associations, international and local nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies will meet to examine the regions primary environmental concerns and what can be done about them.
This is part of a year-long program organized by CI's Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) designed to help businesses identify and implement sustainable operating practices, such voluntarily designating areas to avoid discharging wastewater. It also aims to assist governments in minimizing environmental impacts and collaborating more effectively with the cruise tourism industry. Plans are under way to expand the initiative to other major ports of call in Belize and Honduras.
It will be the first time dialogue of this kind has happened between all key actors on such a large scale in the region, says Seleni Matus of CELB's Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative.
As part of the Ocean Conservation and Tourism Alliance, CI and the cruise industry are working aggressively with partners to develop new business practices, educate crew and passengers, and protect habitats that are rich in biological diversity.
BP is Avoiding, Protecting Sagewin Strait
In Indonesia last fall, energy giant BP announced a welcome change. Due to environmental sensitivities, the corporation will reroute its tankers away from Indonesias fragile Sagewin Strait, even though the new westward path adds 550 kilometers to the tankers routes.
In August 2006, BP asked CI to provide input on its planned shipping route for liquid natural gas from Bintuni Bay, southeast of the Indonesian archipelago of Raja Ampat, to South America. Raja Ampat is located within the Papuan Bird's Head Seascape, prioritized by CI for its abundant biodiversity. CI presented its views to BP's Shipping and Environment departments, asserting that potential damage to the World Heritage-nominated ecosystem would far outweigh the corporations cost savings of taking the short cut.
BPs decision to avoid the regions Sagewin Strait is good for both business and the environment, ensuring that tankers do not harm its unique underwater species, including certain dolphin and whale populations considered threatened by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).