HARROWING pictures show a 39-foot whale that was crushed to death hanging lifelessly over the bow of a tanker in Japan.
Horrified locals caught sight of the whale as the ship pulled into the harbour of Kurashiki last month.
Pictures of the five-ton male Bryde whale were first published in Japan’s national newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.
“I’ve been fishing here for decades, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a whale,” a local fisherman told media.
“I’ve lived for more than eighty years, but it’s my first time [seeing a whale],” another said.
According to reports, the ship’s crew were unaware that they had been dragging the whale with them as they sailed through the pacific.
A spokesperson for the Mizushima Coast Guard Department told Yomiuri Shimbun that this had been the first time they had seen anything like this.
They also said that they would be holding an investigation to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
Michael Fishbach, the executive director and co-founder of the Great Whale Conservancy – an NGo based in North Carolina, told Insider that a dozen whales are killed by a ship for each one that is recorded.
“Because of the negative buoyancy of the whales, they just sink straight to the bottom after they die, except on rare occasions like this one, where the whales are struck in the centre of their body, and you have a situation as you see in the above image,” he said.
“There’s no question that the number of whales killed by ships each year is in the 1000s each year.”
The whale expert added that approximately 60 percent of ships involved in whale strikes are container vessels.
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