A new wildlife centre highlighting sealife has been opened board a North Sea cruise ship.
Renowned cameraman and explorer Doug Allan officially opened the new centre on board the DFDS Seaways ship King Seaways.
The ceremony coincided with the launch of the seventh annual wildlife-spotting season, together with marine conservation charity ORCA.
Doug gave a talk about local marine wildlife, and recalled his own experience of seeing dolphins and whales in the wild – presenting the centre with a photograph of a hump back whale.
Wildlife artist Rory McCann was also on hand to unveil his mural of the North Shields Cetaceans.
Students from Southridge First School, in Whitley Bay, were among the guests, taking part in a question and answer session and a variety of wildlife themed activities.
Doug said: “It is a pleasure to be involved in launching the new marine wildlife centre, which herald’s the start of the wildlife mini cruise season.
“Raising awareness of marine preservation is a subject close to my heart and the work that ORCA and DFDS Seaways do to help educate passengers about important conservation issues is crucial for the protection of our marine environment.
“I believe that the more people are aware of the amazing marine wildlife in the seas surrounding our Island, the better chance we have of preserving and protecting it.”
Max Foster, passenger director at DFDS Seaways, said: “We are delighted to open our new wildlife centre and celebrate the fantastic seven-year relationship we have with ORCA.
“The new centre will offer a great experience for passengers, and we are so pleased to have inspirational people, such as Doug Allan, involved in today’s launch.”
Rachael Forster, ORCA wildlife officer, comments, “Our continued partnership with DFDS Seaways, via the wildlife officer programme, has helped us collect a huge amount of valuable data over the last seven years.
“We hope the inspiring words from Doug Allan and the launch of the new wildlife centre will encourage more young people to take an interest in marine wildlife throughout their lives.”