Cruise ship sails into New York with dead endangered whale across its bow

A cruise ship sailed into a New York City port with a 13-metre dead whale across its bow, marine authorities said.

The whale, identified as an endangered sei whale, was caught on the ship’s bow when it arrived at the Port of Brooklyn on Saturday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries spokesperson Andrea Gomez said.

A video posted to YouTube on Saturday appears to show the whale’s carcass hanging off the bow of the vessel, with the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline in the background. 

A spokesperson for MSC Cruises said the whale was on the MSC Meraviglia, which docked at Brooklyn before sailing to ports in New England and Canada. The ship arrived in Saint John on Wednesday.

“We immediately notified the relevant authorities, who are now conducting an examination of the whale,” officials with the cruise line said in a statement.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of any marine life,” the officials said, adding that the Geneva-based MSC Cruises follows all regulations designed to protect whales, such as altering itineraries in certain regions to avoid hitting the animals.

The dead whale was relocated to Sandy Hook, N.J., and towed to shore there to allow for better access to equipment and to conduct a necropsy, Gomez said.

The body of a 13-metre female sei whale was transported to the shore of Sandy Hook, N.J., where the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society conducted a necropsy. Biologists will examine tissue and bone samples to determine whether it was already dead when it was struck by the ship. (Atlantic Marine Conservation Society/Facebook)

A team from the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society conducted the necropsy on Tuesday. 

The examination determined the animal was a mature female and found evidence of tissue trauma along the area of its right shoulder blade, as well as a right flipper fracture, the organization said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Biologists will examine tissue and bone samples to determine whether it was already dead when it was struck by the ship, the post read.

Sei whales are typically observed in deeper waters far from the coastline, NOAA’s Gomez said.

They are one of the largest whale species and are internationally protected.

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