Canadian Whale Speared by Cruise Ship
OTTAWA It wasn't until the U.S. cruise ship had pulled into port in Atlantic Canada that those on board made a gruesome discovery the body of a large whale was impaled on the vessel's bow.
Officials said on Monday that the 60 foot (19 meter) finback whale could have been stuck there for up to two days before "Jewel of the Seas" docked in Saint John, New Brunswick, on Sunday, after a cruise through waters where the giant mammals abound.
"The captain of the vessel was not aware there was a whale basically impaled on the bow ... this is an extremely unusual case," said Wendy Williams, a spokeswoman for Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Coast Guard officials quickly removed the body of the whale and towed it out to sea. The Royal Caribbean ship had been cruising the St. Lawrence river and the Bay of Fundy on the Atlantic coast, an area rich in whales.
Shipping routes through the Bay of Fundy were changed last year to protect the rare right whale. Finback whales are relatively common.
"This is the first ship strike (on a whale) that I'm aware of in the past year," said Williams.