Dead whale removed from Portsmouth Harbour

Workmen attach straps to a whale to remove from Portsmouth International Port
Workmen attach straps to a whale to remove from Portsmouth International Port

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A 35FT whale that was found dead in Portsmouth Harbour has been lifted out of the water.

An operation was launched to get it out of the water at Portsmouth International Ferry Port at 8.20am.

It took around an hour to attach the machinery to the whale – which has been tied to the quayside since Wednesday – and lift it into a 40ft container lorry supplied by Veolia Environmental Services.

The Zoological Society of London then carried out a post-mortem examination before it was taken to Blue Haze Landfill site in Ringwood for disposal.

Researchers for the society took samples and discovered it was a 15-ton female fin whale – the second longest mammal in the world after a blue whale.

Dave Loader, deputy commercial manager for Mainland Market Deliveries at Flathouse Quay, witnessed the operation.

‘It was quite a sad,’ he said. ‘It was an extremely smelly creature and there’s definitely been a whale odour over the quay.

‘The procedure was a difficult one.

‘But we have guys here who are used to lifting yachts out of the water so they used similar equipment.

‘We secured the whale with leather straps before hoisting it up with a crane.

‘The Zoological Society of London was pleased with our efforts and said we did a good job.’

The Queen’s Harbour Master Rupert Taylor was also present.

As previously reported in The News, the dead whale got stuck to the bow of cargo vessel, Crown Garnet, as it made its way from Panama to Portsmouth.

When the ship docked ferry port staff used a tug boat to pull the whale into the quay before it was tied to the land with rope so it wouldn’t float away.

Rebecca Smith, of The Zoological Society for London, said: ‘We have taken samples of the whale’s blubber and with that we will be able to determine whether the animal was underfed, dehydrated or ill.’

A spokeswoman for Portsmouth International Port said: ‘The fin whale was successfully removed from the harbour at 9.20am.

‘It left the port in a 40ft long truck and has been taken to an approved landfill site.

‘This decision was made after much discussion with all the relevant authorities.’