Cruise Ship Alarmed to Discover a 50,000-Pound Dead Whale Stuck to the Front of It, Seemingly After Getting Run Down and Dying

Whale Tale

A cruise ship came to port on Saturday with a surprising and stinky stowaway stuck to its bow: a dead and rotting whale, the New York Times reports.

And preliminary signs from an investigation suggest that the aquatic mammal — an endangered sei whale weighing at a hefty 50,000 pounds — was killed when it was struck by the vessel, because it had a broken right flipper and trauma to its right shoulder blade.

"It looks like the animal was alive and it was hit by a vessel," Atlantic Marine Conservation Society chief scientist Robert A. DiGiovanni told the NYT.

Red Tide

The cruise ship was sailing towards the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal when authorities found the whale on its bow, the NYT reports. A boat later towed the whale to Sandy Hook Beach in New Jersey for a necropsy conducted by the conservation society.

Sei whales, a type of baleen whale that can be as big as 100,000 pounds and measure 40 to 60 feet, are considered endangered because the commercial whaling industry started targeting them in the 1960s — yes, that late — after exhausting stocks of blue and humpback whales, which became protected species.

From the mid-1960s to 1970s, whalers killed masses of sei whales until there are now only an estimated 57,000 to 65,000 out in the wild. It's estimated that the whaling industry, which went after sei whales for their meat and oil, culled 300,000 sei whales in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The gentle giants still face threats, including getting tangled in fishing gear and getting struck by sea vessels like the cruise ship that came to port on Saturday.

"When you’re out there, these animals might be there," he told the NYT. "We need to make people more aware about how to operate around these animals."

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