Protecting the whales and our local air quality is not only a top priority for the Port, but also its ocean carriers. Maersk, GLOVIS, K Line, and NYK Line all earned recognition for participating in this voluntary program. This vessel speed reduction initiative aims to cut air pollution and protect endangered whales in the Santa Barbara Channel and San Francisco Bay through incentivizing shipping lines to reduce speeds to 10 knots or less in these sensitive areas.

“Over 530 tons of smog-forming emissions were eliminated by the 15 shipping lines participating in this program this year alone,” said Oxnard Harbor District President Jess Ramirez. “We applaud our customers for taking part in this important initiative to save the whales and our air.”

CEO & Port Director Kristin Decas stated, “Since 2014, our Port has partnered with the local Ventura and Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control Districts to encourage and incentivize our shipping lines to participate. Our entire eco-system benefits from this type of investment, and we see momentum growing for more participants to come onboard.”

The Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies Program is a collaborative effort with Ventura County Air Pollution Control District; Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District; Bay Area Air Quality Management District; Channel Islands, Greater Farallones, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries; The Volgenau Foundation; California Marine Sanctuary Foundation; National Marine Sanctuary Foundation; and Environmental Defense Center.

Lee Kindberg, PhD, Head of Environment & Sustainability for Maersk North America stated, “The Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies program is unique… The coalition of participants and sponsors works together each year to achieve goals in both air quality and whale protection. Maersk has participated each year since 2014 and we appreciate the opportunity to continue to participate in this worthwhile effort.”

Jack Duesler, Area Operations Manager, Pacific Southwest for NYK RoRo explained, “It has been a pleasure working with NOAA and their affiliates in this program. The tier system is a great incentive that is difficult yet achievable. While we have yet to earn the prestigious Sapphire mark, we will keep analyzing our fleet and our movements and are convinced we will be able to reach it soon. We look forward to continue being involved in this program!”

Lee Lara, General Manager, Pacific Southwest Region for K Line America said, “We are extremely proud to be a part of this program and grateful for the opportunity to be able to contribute in enhancing marine life conservancy and improving air quality. NOAA’s program coordinators must be commended for their tireless dedication and professionalism not only for making the program a huge success but more importantly for raising awareness.”

“The Port wants to extend its gratitude to all of our customers that invest in our County, our air, and in our beloved ocean. We have exciting work ahead with over $3 million in grants to help us continue toward a zero-emission future. Participation by our customers is key to this success,” said Giles Pettifor, Environmental Manager for the Port.

To date, the Port has invested over $16M in clean air projects including on-Port vessel plug in systems, air quality monitors, electric charging stations, alternative fuel trucks and electric equipment.