Shocking photos show 39-foot whale stuck in the bow of an oil tanker

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  • The tanker crew were apparently unaware of the whale’s presence as it entered Mizushima harbor.
  • Collisions with ships are known to be one of the leading causes of death for endangered whale populations.
  • The huge vessel struck the center of the whale’s body, an expert told Insider.

A shocking image shows a dead 39-foot whale suspended limply from the bow of a Japanese oil tanker in the port of Mizushima, Japan.

The Mizushima Coast Guard Office confirmed to Insider that the whale found dead was a male Bryde, weighing five tons.

Locals spotted the whale as the tanker arrived in the port of the western town of Kurashiki last month. The images were first published in Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan’s five national newspapers.

“I have lived for over 80 years, but this is my first time [seeing a whale]”said a passer-by who saw the tanker, according to the Daily Mail.

According to Yomiuri Shimbun, the ship’s crew were unaware that they had dragged the whale with them as they sailed in the Pacific.

Bryde's whale washed up on ship's bow in Japan

Bryde’s whale washed up on ship’s bow in Japan

Mizushima Coast Guard Office


A spokesman for the Mizushima Coast Guard Department said it was the first time they had seen something like this. They would investigate to see how such an incident can be avoided in the future.

The name of the ship was masked on photos released by the coast guard.

A healthy Bryde's whale swimming in Mirs Bay in Shenzhen, China

A healthy Bryde’s whale swimming in Mirs Bay in Shenzhen, China

Photo by Shi Lei / Nanfang Daily / VCG via Getty Images


According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), ship strikes are known to be one of the leading causes of death for threatened and vulnerable whale populations.

Michael Fishbach, executive director and co-founder of Great Whale Conservancy, an environmental NGO based in North Carolina, told Insider that a dozen whales are killed by one vessel for each recorded.

“Due to the negative buoyancy of the whales, they sink right to the bottom after they die, except on rare occasions like this, where the whales are struck in the center of their body, and you have a situation as you see in the image above. “

Fishbach told Insider: “There is no doubt that the number of whales killed by ships each year is in the thousands each year.”

When discussing what needs to change to save these whales, Fishbach said an industry-appointed body can approach shipping companies with a “calm and combined effort” to come up with measures and changes “to put them there. a term”.

The whale specialist added that around 60% of the ships involved in collisions with whales are container ships.


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