Investigation launched after dead whale found on bow of MSC Cruises ship

By Lisa James
09/05/2024
Home » Investigation launched after dead whale found on bow of MSC Cruises ship

Marine experts are examining a 44-ft-long whale that was found caught on the bow of an MSC Cruises ship, to work out how it died.

The endangered female sei whale was caught on the bow of MSC Meraviglia on Saturday as the ship approached the port of New York, MSC Cruises Director of Media Relations Sidney Sterling told US media.

“We can confirm with deep regret that on Saturday a whale was discovered on the bow of our ship as the vessel approached the port of New York,” Sidney told Fox News Digital.

“We immediately notified the relevant authorities, who are now conducting an examination of the whale.”

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries spokesperson Andrea Gomez said the whale was identified as a sei whale, a protected species, and that NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating.

She said the whale was relocated and towed to shore at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, for a necropsy – an autopsy for animals.

An initial investigation revealed ‘the right flipper had broken bones, and there was evidence of tissue trauma along the right shoulder blade region’, NOAA said. There was evidence the whale had recently eaten.

Tissue and bone samples will help biologists determine if the cruise ship hit the whale when it was still alive or if it was already dead.

The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), which helped moved the whale, said: “Sei whales are endangered, and are typically observed in deeper waters far from the coastline.”

MSC added: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of any marine life. We have comprehensive measures in place to help avoid collisions, such as training all our deck officers with the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) and we follow regulations designed to protect whales and other marine life.

“This includes altering itineraries in certain regions to avoid whales and we will continue to evaluate and update our procedures with our partners and the authorities.”

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