Whale Struck by Container Ship, Carcass Removed from Seattle Area Beach
Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. was contracted to remove the fin whale that had washed up on the Seahurst Park beach in Burien, WA. Global removed the carcass and prevented its further decomposition in the city park.
On April 13, several reports were made to the U.S. Coast Guard that a whale had washed up approximately five miles south of Seattle’s Alki Point. The fin whale, not local to thearea, was believed to have been struck by a container ship at sea and brought into the Puget Sound on the bow. As the ship slowed down the whale dislodged and floated until it washed ashore at the north end of Seahurst Park beach.
Biologists examined the carcass and noticed that the tail section was missing, leaving approximately 50 feet of the assumed 65 foot marine mammal. The whale quickly became an attraction; for the next several days the local park service and volunteers from several organizations stood watch. They were able to answer the multitude of questions and keep the public away from the carcass until a plan for removal was established.
Global Diving & Salvage, Inc., City of Burien, National Marine Fisheries Service, and NOAA collaborated to develop a plan to refloat and removed the dead whale from the shore. On the evening of April 16 at high tide, Global’s DSV Prudhoe Bay was used to pull the whale from shore. The crew from Global used special rigging techniques and tools to reduce the damage to the carcass, thereby retaining educational and research value. It was towed to the South Puget Sound area and handed over to NOAA.
The remains will be allowed to decompose naturally and the jaw bone will be donated for display.