Song of the Whale: 2018 survey vessel

The Song of the Whale Research team (@MCRInt) was started by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 1987 to develop and promote non-invasive ways to study marine mammals, including the use of passive acoustics. Since then the team have studied a range of threatened species including sperm whales, North Atlantic right whales, blue whales, monk seals, basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises. The Song of the Whale is no longer owned or funded by IFAW. Marine Conservation Research International, a not-for-profit organisation, was formed in 2011, to enable the team to continue to conduct practical conservation projects on vulnerable marine wildlife and habitats.

R/V Song of the Whale is the team’s purpose built 21 metre long sailing research vessel, suited  to work in both coastal and offshore environments. Approved by Lloyd’s Register under the Special Service Craft Rules as Service Group 6 (unrestricted service) and with an MCA Category 0 rating, Song of the Whale can operate in any ocean. The vessel has worked in more than 20 different regions and countries, including the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Azores, North America, Iceland, Greenland and West Africa on projects to assess the distribution, abundance and behaviour of marine mammals and investigate human impacts including underwater noise, disturbance and marine debris. Due to numerous design features, R/V Song of the Whale is one of the quietest marine research vessels in the world and operates with minimal disturbance to marine life.


The Song of the Whale berths up to 12, and on our cruise three crew members will assist the 8-man field team with the right whale survey. For further information on the work of the R/V Song of the Whale and team visit


Read about our recent visit to Song of the Whale.

Pilot whales bow ride ahead of R/V Song of the Whale, en route to the Azores. Image: MCR/IFAW