Princess Ship Hits Whale in Alaska

Posted Jul 29th 2010 07:53 AMUpdated Jul 29th 2010 12:51 PM


A 116,000-ton Princess Cruises ship operating in Alaska has struck a whale. Federal authorities are investigating.

The dead whale, believed to be a juvenile humpback, was discovered on the bulbous bow of the 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess as the ship cruised from Ketchikan to Juneau, two of the most popular Alaska ports.

It's the second such incident involving the ship in just over a year.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spokeswoman, Julie Speegle, tells the Juneau Empire, the ship was south of Juneau near Tracy Arm, when the whale became lodged on the bow.

The ship contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and National Marine Fisheries Service, which contacted NOAA, and federal authorities responded. Under their direction and assistance, the whale was removed and taken ashore inside Stephens Passage, south of Douglas Island, Princess says.

NOAA is conducting a necropsy on the animal. Speegle says the whale appears in photos to be a juvenile humpback.

In a statement, the cruise line says, "We were surprised and concerned by the discovery, as the ship felt no impact. It is unknown how or when this could have happened as we were not aware that any whales were sighted in close proximity to the ship when the whale was discovered."

The line adds it has "strict whale avoidance procedures in place" when its ships are in the vicinity of marine life.

The ship continued to Juneau, arriving about three hours later than planned.

The Sapphire Princess is on a 7-day Inside Passage cruise, round-trip out of Seattle.

The incident is eerily similar to a purported strike by the same ship on July 25, last year.

In that case, the ship docked in Vancouver with a dead, 70-ton Fin whale attached. It was later determined the whale was already deceased when it collided with the ship.

Photo, suzumiyaharuka, flickr

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Here's video that I took of the whale being removed from the ship...

August 03 2010 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gabriel Murphy

I feel sad for the whale that has died due to collision with this ship.

August 02 2010 at 8:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just got off the ship this morning. Hitting the whale was terribly upsetting to everyone on board. The exact time the whale was hit is still unknown. The ship was cruising between 17 to 20mph during the window of time that it could have happened. I feel confident the crew did and continues to do everything possible to avoid harming any sea life. They are in this profession because they love it, and numerous times during the cruise there were programs and announcements to educate passengers on the importance of these fabulous creatures. I appreciate their courtesy and professionalism.

August 01 2010 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

By the way, for those interested, if you sometimes post comments on Pop Eater (and their related popsugar) or Politics Daily or Luxist, they will censor what you say, and not just for vulgarities. If the comment is not PC enough and disagrees with what they think, they will not post it. I found it ironic in that the place I tested this idea with popeater was on the article on Muslim censorship, via threats of violence (surprise, surprise), of South Park. So just be aware that Pop Eater is into censorship big time. Two of their favorite protectorates are Muslims and illegal aliens. Politics daily will also follow suit and censor an absolutely true, non-vulgar comment simply because they disagree with it and it is not PC enough. I have been repeatedly testing the popeater and Politics Daily comments section and they also censor any negative comments about themselves, such as this. Apparently they are ashamed of what they are doing and trying to hide it. In soome, popeater was censoring comments while allowing others to use profane vulgarities. How inconsistent. The latest confirmatory test was 7/30/10.

July 30 2010 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can't these cruise ship afford to have better radar?? This is only 2 that we know of because they got caught on the bow of the ship! How many have actually been injured and died??! So sad!

July 30 2010 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ralph Hume

Everyone should just chill, and read the article. The article clearly stated that the first whale was dead before it was hit by the ship.

July 30 2010 at 3:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have personally been on a cruise ship in Alaska and have seen whales from the ship, but they were a ways off and one minute they were there and the next minute they were gone. So just because some passengers saw whales does not mean that the ship has to immediately come to a halt. I do feel bad if the whale was killed by the ship, but it's not avoidable.

July 29 2010 at 11:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you have no feeling for whales or any other species that could someday be distinct then you are a person with no feelings. I doubt the cruise line would intentionally hit a whale. I also doubt some of the crew didn't see the whales out there. The person who said an article should be written about the Japenese intentionally killing whales should be written so more people know what is going on. You people should watch "whale wars" and you would know.

July 29 2010 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's usually the same demonrats that think murdering unborn future SSI payers in the wound is cool, but they get their panties in a wad over a stupid animal or a death row inmate.

July 29 2010 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lives in Juneau

It is always sad when any animal is hit by our man made vehicles. However, the cruise ship probably hit the whale at night, they figure around 1:30 a.m., yes it is dark here then, and the captain or whoever was manning the ship would not have seen them. Also, in the Southeast Alaska area you can see whale spray for miles, but the whales themselves go right up to the ships. I have observed that many times in small boats and larger ships. You should send your anger to the idoit from Prince of Wales (that is an island here)that intentionally hit whales with a small boat. But that probably did not make national internet, only Alaska papers. He was prosecuted here for that crime. He had intention, but I don't believe the captain of the cruise ship did it intentionally.

July 29 2010 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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