New rule would slow port traffic to save whales

Image by NOAAImage by 20080918rightwhale.jpg An Atlantic Northern Right Whale and her calf. Only some 300 are believed to be left in the Atlantic.

Port officials and operators are none to happy about a likely new rule that big ships must slow to 11.5 mph when near right whale migration paths.

NOAA is likely to make the decision in October to protect the fewer than 400 right whales left in the Atlantic from fatal strikes by the massive propellors on cargo and other large ships.

Though the whales can grow to a massive 60 feet and 100 tons, that's only 6% the length of a relatively modest Panamax cargo ship.

But port operators say the policy unfairly targets Charleston and is far too costly in slowed business.

Head over to The Post and Courier for the story.