The order requires ships more than 65 feet in length to limit their speed to 10 knots when they are within 20 miles of Hampton Roads and other mid-Atlantic ports.
The order exempts U.S. Navy and law-enforcement vessels and is in effect Nov. 1-April 30 when right whales pass through on their annual migration from the North Atlantic to breeding grounds off Florida and then return in the spring.
"They are slow-moving and they're highly vulnerable to ship collisions, Their migration route crosses major East Coast shipping lanes," Connie Barclay, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Va.
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