A 30FT whale has been found dead at Portsmouth Harbour after it was dragged from the sea on the front of a cargo ship.
Shocked staff at Portsmouth International Port spotted it caught on the bow of the Crown Garnet after it docked just after midnight.
A tug boat normally used to bring in boats pulled the whale to the quayside.
A team of eight ferry port staff then tied the mammal to the quay so it wouldn’t float away before alerting Solent Coastguard at around 1am.
Coastguards passed on the information to The Receiver of Wreck at the Maritime Coastguard Agency, which is working out with the Queen’s Harbour Master and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what to do with the body.
It is believed the whale was already dead when it got stuck to the bow of the Crown Garnet, which has made its way from Panama to Portsmouth.
Clayton Harwood, 45, a dock operative at the ferry port, saw the whale when he arrived at work at 7am.
‘It was quite a sight,’ he said.
‘It’s a shame what’s happened to it.
‘You wonder which part of the ocean it was from.
‘You normally see something like it on wildlife programmes, not in Portsmouth.’
It is not known how the whale will be disposed of and what the cost will be.
The Zoological Society of London will reveal details about the whale once it carries out a post-mortem examination and scientific tests on the mammal, which was still tied to the quay last night.
It is awaiting the go-ahead from the ferry port.
Rob Deaville, project manager for the society, said: ‘We are waiting for the port authority to tell us whether we can carry out a post-mortem examination at the docks.
‘If health and safety does not permit this then we will look to take some samples and photos instead.
‘It would be a shame not to carry out any scientific research.
‘Whales don’t strand that frequently in the UK. For many people this is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.’
A spokeswoman for Portsmouth International Port said: ‘Shortly after midnight the Crown Garnet berthed at Flathouse Quay and was found to have a dead whale caught on its bow.
‘We are now seeking guidance from the appropriate authorities as what to do next.’