British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue

News

2006-09-22 12:25:08

Humpback whale stuck against dock side dies, Humber

BDMLR Marine Mammal Medics were called to a most unusual and unfortunate situation at the ferry port in the River Humber. It became stuck at Ferry Terminal No 1, the 'Rotterdam Dock'.

A Humpback whale of approximately 8-9m (26-29ft) in length and weighing approximately 8 tons had become wedged between the dock 'uprights' and the concrete slope leading down from the service road. The 'Pride of Hull' ferry had at one point been laid against the dock side trapping the whale in place.

As it was dark and the tide flowing out, the volunteers from BDMLR (assisted by the MCA, port authority and Humber Rescue) were unable to reach the animal until the tide had dropped.

A local vet also attended and was in contact with BDMLR Chief consultant vet, James Barnett. Medics attending were Simon Drayton, Graeme Shaw and others.

The whale was provided with initial first aid and kept wet by covering the animal with sheets and pouring water over the animal.

The specialised pontoons which BDMLR have are designed for animals up to 4 tons and it quickly became apparent that it would not be possible to get the pontoons into place under/around this animal due to its very large size.

If the animal had survived until the return of the tide it may have been possible to pass the pontoons under it when it was floated but this would have been an extremely dangerous point for the volunteers.

At 2.25am (22nd Sept) the whale died.

This was not wholly unexpected due to the well known manner in which these large species deteriorate quickly when their bulk is not supported by water. Also, due to the extreme location, any rescue attempt was starting at a very difficult point indeed.

The whale carcass remained in location last night, a small piece of blubber was removed for analysis.

Thanks to all the BDMLR volunteers who attended and also to those organisations who assisted including; Humber Rescue, the port authority and the MCA.

A more detailed and 'eye witness' report will follow.....once the volunteers have recovered from their very late night.

Tony Woodley