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Whale Death Sparks Investigation
Kelly
Posted: Monday, August 2, 2010 4:46 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 40


It was a very sad scene when the Sapphire Princess Cruise Ship came around the point of Douglass Island heading into the Gatineau Channel earlier this week with a dead Humpback Whale draped across the ship’s bulbous bow. Authorities with the USCG and NOAA pulled the carcass from the ship and dragged it up on shore where a full necropsy is underway to determine if the whale was dead before impact or died during impact with the cruise ship.  What seems like a random oddity is not so random for this vessel, as a nearly identical incident occurred just last year with the same ship. The Juneau Empire reported this morning, “NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident, and has interviewed the captain of the Sapphire Princess.”

 

 

Earlier this month, a very different collision made headlines from South Africa when a sailboat was badly damaged by a breeching whale. On the heels of these headlines, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service’s Mammal Stranding Coordinator has agreed to an interview with Dockwalk Magazine after completing the Necropsy investigation in order to better educate captains about sharing the waterways with cetaceans. Captains and crew with questions they would like to submit for consideration in the interview may do so on this forum.


Henning
Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 6:38 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Kelly wrote:

It was a very sad scene when the Sapphire Princess Cruise Ship came around the point of Douglass Island heading into the Gatineau Channel earlier this week with a dead Humpback Whale draped across the ship’s bulbous bow.... What seems like a random oddity is not so random for this vessel, as a nearly identical incident occurred just last year with the same ship.



That is pretty weird, I wonder if the ship puts out some harmonic that the whales find attractive.....


junior
Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 7:53 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


When a whale sleeps it lies still on the surface and floats abnormally high like a log. Same with sea turtles. When the whale is floating high its vulnerable to being run over and hooked on a ships bulbous bow. Just last week at dawn, on a flat calm morning, I came across what appeared to be 3 sleeping pilot whales...dark colour, hooked dorsal fin and a round nose. . We motored very close, stopped for a look and they just ignored us and stayed motionless. Id expect the authorities are interviewing the captain to determine the ships track and whether this track coincides with areas in which whales are know to rest.
kapt_mark
Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 8:54 PM
Joined: 30/06/2008
Posts: 81


i was wondering the same thing. Hump backs are noted for their 'singing', i wonder if their is some low frequency 'song' coming from the ship. I have heard of singing props before. its odd that this has happened twice to the same ship.

the main focus at uni. on marine mammals was regarding polution and bio accumulation. basically means, the higher up you go in the food web, the more concentrated the pollutants become. Female whales showed less signs as they were 'lucky' enough to unload some of their toxic load in their breast milk.cheery thought for us humans too.

aeronautic1
Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 1:32 AM
Joined: 25/07/2008
Posts: 32


Did you hear about the shark that comitted suicide because he had no porpoise in life?

Or the walrus that went to a Tupperware party, because he was trying to find a tight seal?


Kelly
Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 5:57 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 40


Some updated information on this incident: Preliminary findings from the necropsy contained in a media release Tuesday indicate that the whale was likely dead before impact with the ship...at least this ship. A severed pectoral fin seemed to indicate contact with a vessel; the report stated it was likely a propeller. However, evidence of scavaging by Orcas made researchers and veterinarians on the scene confident that the 43-foot female humback was dead before lodging on the bow of the Sapphire Princess. The media release did suggest that vessel impacts with whales seem to be on the rise. It is unclear if increased reports are due to an increased whale population or just better reporting. No conclusions have been drawn in that regard. However, with this in mind, there is still time to submit additional questions regarding steps captains can take to avoid collisions with whales and other cetateans.
 
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