Whale rescued off Cape Point

2015-09-09 10:47
The whale after it had been freed. (Photo from SAWDN)

The whale after it had been freed. (Photo from SAWDN)

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Johannesburg - A whale has been rescued near Cape Point lighthouse after being entangled in trap ropes attached to the seabed, the SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) said on Wednesday.

The SAWDN was notified of the distressed whale around 12:15 on Tuesday, spokesperson Craig Lambinon said in a statement.

SAWDN volunteers responded aboard two National Sea Rescue Institute boats. 

SAWDN head Mike Meyer said when they arrived on scene at 14:35, the 9-metre juvenile Humpback whale was found entangled in four ropes that appeared to be anchored to traps on the seabed.

"An extensive disentanglement operation progressed, using the specialised disentanglement equipment, and one rope was able to be cut enabling the whale to breathe easier," he said.

"But despite tethering a kegg - floatation buoy - to ropes attached to the whales tail in an effort to lift the tail closer to the surface and in reach of the specialised cutting equipment, three ropes remained out of reach and further complicated by the thickness of the ropes and the weight."

A local fishing boat named PUFFIN, which uses similar types of traps, was in the area and volunteered to help.

The fishing crew used their heavy lifting equipment and lifted the attached traps, lifting the whale at the same time to the sea surface. This allowed the SAWDN volunteers to reach the entanglement lines.

The freed whale. (Photo from SAWDN)

"SAWDN volunteers got to work and all remaining lines were successfully cut and the whale was released," Meyer said.

"The whale appeared healthy and swam away strongly and we are confident that this operation has been a huge success. The SAWDN volunteers, NSRI boat skippers and crew and the crew of PUFFIN are commended for their actions today."

Read more on:    nsri  |  cape town  |  maritime  |  marine life

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