Monday, August 21, 2006

Cruise Ship Snags Whale Off Alaska

The majestic 2,000-passenger cruise ship Summit pulled into port in Seward, Alaska, with a dead whale unceremoniously dangling from its bulbous bow. The 25- to 30-foot long whale was spotted by longshoremen after the vessel was tied up at the Seward dock, federal investigators told local Anchorage reporters. The whale, tentatively identified as a humpback, was removed from the ship and towed by a tugboat to a beach in nearby Thumb Cove.
A work crew pulls away from a 25- to 30-foot whale impaled on the bow of the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Summit.
A necropsy would determine whether the whale was struck by the Summit or if it was already dead and floating when the ship picked it up, officials said. Testing should also reveal if the whale died from being hit by the ship, a predatory attack or of natural causes.
A skiff waits under the Summit's bow while a diver attaches a tow rope to the dead whale, which was tentatively identified as a humpback.
Humpback whales are an endangered species protected under several federal laws, Barbara Mahoney, an Alaska marine mammal specialist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, told the Daily News.

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