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Mystery as cruise ship sails into New York with huge dead whale across its bow

Simon Calder’s Travel

Conservationists and scientists are working together to try and solve the mystery of how a 44-foot whale ended up on the bow of a cruise liner.

The body was discovered as the ship approached New York City’s Port of Brooklyn over the weekend.

An autopsy identified the deceased 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.

One key question is whether the whale’s death came before or after its contact with the vessel, according to the non-profit organization, based in Hampton Bays, New York.

Sei whales, members of the baleen branch of cetaceans that filter-feed on plankton and krill, take their name from the Norwegian word for pollock, a fish they often run with at sea. They are known as exceptionally fast swimmers, capable of reaching speeds of more than 34 miles per hour (55kph), according to NOAA.

They dwell mostly in subtropical, temperate and subpolar seas around the world, primarily the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. In summer, they are commonly found in the Gulf of Maine and on Georges Bank and Stellwagen Bank in the western North Atlantic.

he whale has been identified as a 44-foot, mature female Sei whale (Atlantic Marine Conservation Society)

An online statement posted by the society, whose team conducted the necropsy on Tuesday, said the exam revealed evidence of tissue trauma along whale’s right shoulder blade region, and a right flipper fracture. The creature’s gastrointestinal tract was full of food, it said.

Most of the whale’s organs were sampled, along with tissue and bone, for toxicology and pathology analysis, according to the society.

It said the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s law enforcement office was also investigating the incident.

The whale’s corpse was carried into port on Saturday. A resident appears to have spotted the dead animal and filmed it coming in.

MSC Cruises said the whale was on the MSC Meraviglia, which docked at Brooklyn before sailing to ports in New England and Canada.

“We immediately notified the relevant authorities, who are now conducting an examination of the whale,” officials with the cruise line said in a statement.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of any marine life.” It added that the cruise follows all regulations designed to protect…

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