Dead 24-tonne whale hit by Portsmouth-bound cargo ship moved to animal waste facility in Essex
A WHALE struck by a cargo ship carrying fruit to Portsmouth port has been craned off its bow and moved to an animal waste facility.
The Cote d'Ivoirian Star arrived at Portsmouth port on December 30 after it was held off the coast of the Isle of Wight following the discovery.
A recovery operation was launched with a specialist from the cetacean strandings investigation programme, part of the Institute of Zoology in London.
The 65ft-long rorqual whale, thought to weigh 24 tonnes, has now been moved to an animal waste facility in Essex.
Portsmouth-based charity Orca said ‘ship strike is becoming increasingly common’ and is a global problem.
Harbour Master Ben McInnes said: ‘This was an unfortunate incident – sad for the whale and also for the people around the port and the ship's staff.
‘As a seafarer myself, one of the privileges of working at sea is seeing some amazing wildlife and working amongst it.
‘We don’t know if the whale was dead when the ship's bow picked it up or if it was alive and struck by the ship.
‘It’s not a common occurrence. We have worked with several agencies to remove the whale and dispose of it in a safe and responsible manner, but also with respect for the whale.
‘As a port we work closely with the organisation Orca, who are working on a project with Brittany Ferries to reduce incidence of ship strikes on marine mammals.’
The ship was coming from Senegal and is operated by Africa Express Line.
Orca is working with Brittany Ferries to analyse how whales behave when a ship approaches through the Bay of Biscay.