18m humpback whale carcass towed to Hout Bay harbour

2018-06-25 21:52
Whale carcass towed to Hout Bay Harbour. (Supplied)

Whale carcass towed to Hout Bay Harbour. (Supplied)

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An 18m humpback whale carcass has been towed to Hout Bay harbour from Kommetjie in Cape Town.

The adult southern right whale, which is estimated to weigh over 40 tons, was spotted by an eyewitness at around 10:45 on Monday, National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson Craig Lambinon said.

The witness informed Hout Bay's NSRI duty crew. Lambinon said the carcass was floating 200m off shore at the time.

He added that Kommetjie and Hout Bay NSRI duty crew found that it would wash ashore in the vicinity of the Kommetjie boat slip-way.

"The City of Cape Town (CoCT) marine animal stranding network [was] activated. But as a precautionary measure, NSRI Hout Bay launched the deep sea rescue craft Nadine Gordimer anticipating to reach the scene quickly to attach a towline to hold the whale carcass from washing ashore until a CoCT marine unit could get to the scene," Lambinon said.

He said the NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue craft Il Battello was also launched from NSRI Kommetjie to assist with manoeuvrability around the carcass while a towline was attached.

Lambinon said a towline was then rigged to the carcass and it was towed to Hout Bay successfully.

'Navigational hazard'

The NSRI Hout Bay deep sea rescue craft towed the carcass about three knots to the Hout Bay harbour, where the CoCT cleansing department would recover the carcass for disposal.

Lambinon said if the carcass was towed to sea, it would have been a "navigational hazard" to the ships and boats. 

"It was considered to tow the carcass out to sea (to allow for natural decomposition at sea) but our fear was that the large carcass and heavy weight may have been a hazard to shipping vessels or fishing vessels at sea," he said. 

Lambinon added that the reason why the carcass was towed to Hout Bay Harbour was because it would be easy for the cleansing department to break it up and take it to the disposal site.  

"Taking all of this into account the only option that presented as the best option was to tow the carcass to Hout Bay for controlled and easily accessible recovery and disposal," he said. 

Whale carcass towed to Hout Bay Harbour. (Supplied)

 

Read more on:    nsri  |  cape town
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