44-Foot Endangered Whale Found Dead on Cruise Ship's Bow as It Arrives in New York City

A 44-foot endangered whale was found dead on the bow of a cruise ship sailing into New York City

Published Time: 09.05.2024 - 13:31:13 Modified Time: 09.05.2024 - 13:31:13

A 44-foot endangered whale was found dead on the bow of a cruise ship sailing into New York City.

On Saturday, May 4, MSC Cruises' MSC Meraviglia docked at the Port of Brooklyn, which is where the animal — identified as a mature female sei whale by the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society — was discovered.

"We can confirm with deep regret that on Saturday a whale was discovered on the bow of our ship as the vessel approached the port of New York," an MSC spokesperson said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

"We immediately notified the relevant authorities, who are now conducting an examination of the whale," they added.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of any marine life. We have comprehensive measures in place to help avoid collisions, such as training all our deck officers with the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) and we follow regulations designed to protect whales and other marine life," the statement continued. 

"This includes altering itineraries in certain regions to avoid whales and we will continue to evaluate and update our procedures with our partners and the authorities," the company said. After stopping at New York, the MSC Meraviglia sailed to ports in New England and Canada.

Sei whales are endangered and are typically observed in deeper waters far from the coastline, per a message shared by the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society on Facebook. 

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"NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Office of Law Enforcement is investigating this incident. The whale was relocated and towed to shore at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to allow for better access to heavy equipment and resources to conduct a necropsy," the post added.

NOAA Fisheries' Andrea Gomez didn't immediately respond to PEOPLE when approached for comment.

The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society confirmed a "necropsy examination (animal autopsy) revealed evidence of tissue trauma along the right shoulder blade region, and a right flipper fracture. The whale’s gastrointestinal tract was also full of food."

"Most of the other organs were sampled as well for toxicology and other life history studies," the message added. "The tissue and bone samples collected will help biologists determine if the vessel interaction occurred pre or post mortem,"

According to the NOAA's website, sei whales are fast swimmers that can reach speeds of over 34 miles per hour, adding that an average sei whale eats about 2,000 pounds of food per day.

"Vessel strikes and entanglement pose the biggest threat to sei whales today," the website stated.

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