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Shipping companies and Sri Lanka's conservationists in unusual alliance to save whales

Only Sri Lanka has to agree now

By AP in Colombo
  • Published 5.03.19, 1:35 PM
  • Updated 5.03.19, 1:35 PM
  • a min read
In this November 6, 2007, file photo, people walk past the body of a whale in Colombo. AP

When the feeding grounds of blue whales overlap with busy shipping lanes, it is often bad news for endangered marine mammals.

In Sri Lanka, however, an unusual alliance has been forged: conservationists and shipping companies have aligned in a bid to move the traffic lane about 28 kilometers (17 miles) away to help avoid collisions between whales and freighters. The only holdout is Sri Lanka, which has so far declined to sign off.

While shipping companies say they're willing to absorb the cost of the moved corridor, the Sri Lankan government says it's worried the relocation might make ships less inclined to stop in the country. After years of lobbying from scientists and the shipping industry, Sri Lanka said a decision might "hopefully" be made in March.