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Endangered Whale Likely Dead After Collision With Cruise Ship Off New York Port

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A rare and endangered whale died likely due to a collision with a cruise ship as it approached New York City’s Port of Brooklyn over the weekend. According to the New York Post, a 44-foot whale was found dead on the front of the cruise ship MSC Meraviglia in the Port of Brooklyn on May 4. 

A necropsy, the animal equivalent of an autopsy, identified the marine mammal as a mature female sei whale, an endangered species typically found in deep waters far from land, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society said on Wednesday.

The exam revealed evidence of tissue trauma along the whale’s right shoulder blade region and a right flipper fracture. The creature’s gastrointestinal tract was also full of food. Most of the whale’s organs were sampled, along with tissue and bone, for toxicology and pathology analysis

MSC Cruises, the company that owns the ship, confirmed the whale was found on the bow of its ship as it approached the Port of New York, and said the company notified authorities immediately.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of any marine life. We have comprehensive measures in place to help avoid collisions, such as training all our deck officers with the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) and we follow regulations designed to protect whales and other marine life. This includes altering itineraries in certain regions to avoid whales and we will continue to evaluate and update our procedures with our partners and the authorities, ” the spokesperson said. 

Rob DiGiovanni, the founder and chief scientist of the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, told The Post it was more than likely that the ”interaction with the vessel contributed to her death.”

As per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sei whales can grow to be up to 60 feet long and have a lifespan of 50 to 70 years. They are known as exceptionally fast swimmers, capable of reaching speeds of more than 34 miles per hour (55kph). They dwell mostly in subtropical, temperate and subpolar seas around the world, primarily the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. 

These whales used to be abundant in the US and around the world, but up to 300,000 of them were killed by commercial whalers in the 19th and 20th centuries, according to NOAA.

​A necropsy, the animal equivalent of an autopsy, identified the deceased marine mammal as a mature female sei whale, an endangered species typically found in deep waters far from land. 

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