Dead whale discovered on bow of Holland America cruise ship

May 30, 2016

A dead fin whale was discovered on the bow of the Holland America cruise ship MS Zaandam early Sunday morning at around 5 a.m. just as the ship was preparing to dock in Seward. Investigators from NOAA and members of the Alaska SeaLife Center and Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network and were dispatched to the scene. It's too early to say if the whale was killed when struck by Zaandam or if was already dead when it became lodged on the cruise ship bow. Investigators will remove the whale and determinate the cause of the death and send it for a necropsy with a veterinary pathologist.

Holland America line spokesperson said the company has a comprehensive Whale Strike Avoidance program. “Our ships have clear guidelines on how to operate if whales are sighted nearby, which include altering course and reducing speed as required," she said.

Humpback and Fin whales are protected under the United States Endangered Species Act. If the boat was not harassing or chasing the whale and didn't intentionally strike it, the cruise ship will not face any charges.

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