About Ocean Odyssey

Statement by Pacific Whale Foundation Founder
Regarding Ocean Odyssey

Now in our 34th year, Pacific Whale Foundation is recognized as a leader and pioneer in marine research, conservation and education in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific.  Our ocean ecotours help to fund our work. Our ecotour captains, naturalists and purser crew are highly trained professionals dedicated to protecting and preserving our oceans.

We work tirelessly to ensure that all of our organization's activities have minimal impact on the environment. We take seriously our mission of "protecting our oceans through science and advocacy." To guarantee we meet our mission every day, we have a zero-tolerance policy for any team member who engages in behaviors or activities that may in any way cause undue impact to the marine environment, whether intentional or not. To that end we have terminated the captain involved in the grounding of Ocean Odyssey.

We have launched an in-depth investigation into the accident and are working closely with pertinent federal and state agencies to ensure all remedies are vigorously pursued. In addition, yesterday, members of our team conducted underwater surveys of the impact site for over two hours.  We have shared our findings with DLNR/DAR and are currently working on a plan to repair and restore any damage caused by the grounding.

 Ocean Odyssey has been towed to Honolulu, where it will undergo an extensive inspection and repair. We anticipate it returning to service in the coming weeks.

Pacific Whale Foundation is comprised of over 160 hard-working, dedicated environmentalists, who work diligently every day to make a difference.  In this instance, one team member's actions resulted in a regrettable result. To our members, supporters and all those who care as deeply as we do about the marine environment, I sincerely apologize for any impacts caused by this unfortunate accident. You have my assurance we will work to do everything possible to minimize the effects of the accident, and enact strict new policies and procedures to ensure events such as this will not happen in the future.

I thank you for your continued concern and support.

Aloha no,
Greg Kaufman
Founder, Pacific Whale Foundation

 

About Greg Kaufman:
Greg Kaufman is the founder and Executive Director of Pacific Whale Foundation and author of numerous books, scientific and popular publications. A pioneer in noninvasive humpback whale research in the mid-1970s, Greg founded Pacific Whale Foundation in 1980, and committed his new organization to educating the public, from a scientific perspective, about whales and their ocean habitat.

Greg oversees the longest running humpback whale research program off Australia (began in 1984), and has studied humpbacks in Hervey Bay since 1987. Greg is a world leader in addressing whale protection issues, and has pioneered responsible whale- and dolphin-watching programmes throughout the Pacific.  He is widely acknowledged as an innovator and leader in marine ecotourism. Greg is an Invited Participant to the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee and is a contributor to the subcommittees on Whalewatching, Southern Hemisphere Whales and Bycatch, serves on the Hawaiian Island Humpback National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Committee, and recently co-led the United Nations Environmental Programme's Regional Workshop on Marine Mammal Watching in the Wider Caribbean Region.