With bycatches and entanglement, collisions with ships are a cause of unintentional death due to human activities. They take place all over the world in large numbers but are not reported.

This phenomenon is caused by:
- the size of the ships,
- the large volume of maritime traffic (maritime routes often cross the migratory routes of whales)
- high speed of ships.

Collisions often result in the death of collided cetaceans. In other cases the animals are severely injured, which can cause them to run aground.

The Belgian Ministry of Environment has released an information leaflet on ship strikes with whales. Every segment of the maritime industry is concerned, as well as sailing boats. This leaflet commissioned by Belgium includes advice to reduce the risk of collisions with whales. Ship strikes are a priority area of work for the IWC and other international organizations.(especially the International Maritime Organization).

The leaflet is available in:

This publication aims to promote the use of standardised global data base developed by the IWC that can be used to voluntarily report collisions between ships and cetaceans. Open to all, it allows collecting data and information about these incidents. Its purpose is to have more relevant estimates of the impact of collisions on the mortality and injury of cetaceans and to model the risk factors.

Belgium chairs the Working Group on collisions of ships of the IWC and actively participates in its work on assessment, public awareness and preventive measures.