Whale hit by Portsmouth-bound container ship will be brought ashore today

A WHALE hit by a fruit cargo ship travelling to Portsmouth Harbour is set to be brought ashore to be ‘assessed’.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 10:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 3:12 pm

The mammal was spotted on the bow of operator African Express Line’s Cote D’Ivorian Star on Monday during a routine boarding of the vessel.

It remains unclear where the incident happened and whether the whale had already died before it became attached to the ship.

Ben McInnes, Portsmouth International Port’s harbour master said: ‘Yesterday morning (30 December) during a routine boarding of AEL’s Cote D’Ivorian Star, a regular cargo ship carrying fruit from Africa, pilot boat crew spotted an object on the bow of the vessel.

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Refrigerated container ship Cote D'Ivoirian Star at Portsmouth Harbour. The ship is operated by African Express Line. Picture: Tony Weaver File photo

‘On further inspection the object was sadly identified as a deceased whale.

‘Fortunately this a rare incident, but can be quite complex and involves a number of agencies to help resolve. However, there was no emergency declared on board and no distress call sent.

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‘The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) were made aware of the situation and liaised with various agencies including the Counter Pollution Team, Receiver of Wreck, Portsmouth International Port, Queen’s Harbour Master, the ship’s owner and Environmental and Conservation Agencies were consulted.’

Refrigerated container ship Cote D'Ivoirian Star at Portsmouth Harbour. The ship is operated by African Express Line. Picture: Tony Weaver File photo

The whale is due to be brought ashore after the Cote D’Ivorian Star was able to sail into Portsmouth Harbour with the aid of three tugs on Monday evening.

The monster reefer vessel was held off the cost of the Isle of Wight for almost seven hours.

Mr McInnes added: ‘It is unclear where the incident occurred, or whether the whale had already died.

Cote D’Ivorian Star being towed into Portsmouth Harbour on Monday evening. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘The ship was released to sail into Portsmouth harbour late afternoon. The whale will now be brought ashore so it can be assessed and taken care of.’

Cote d’Ivoirian is one of four container ships operated by African Express Line.

The Cote d'Ivorian Star
Refrigerated container ship Cote D'Ivoirian Star at Portsmouth Harbour. The ship is operated by African Express Line. Picture: Tony Weaver File photo