Humpback Whale Impaled on Cruise Ship; Authorities Investigating Cause of Death

The carcass of a humpback whale was found on the bow of a cruise ship upon docking at an Alaskan port. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will conduct an investigation on how the humpback whale died.

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service/Handout via ReutersA dead humpback whale was found impaled on the Grand Princess cruise ship upon docking in Alaska.

The 290-meter cruise ship, Grand Princess, had a dead humpback whale impaled on its bow upon docking last Wednesday in Ketchikan, Alaska, ABC reported.

Brian O'Connor, a spokesman for Princess Cruises, shared that they have no idea how the whale was impaled on the ship's bow, which is a component of the ship designed to tear through waves.

"It is unknown how or when this happened as the ship felt no impact," O'Connor said, also expressing how saddened they are by the incident.

O'Connor added that they also have no way of telling whether the humpback whale was still alive when impacted the ship's bow. He also said that during their journey to Ketchikan, there were no signs of whales near the Grand Princess on their navigators, which is why they were surprised to see the humpback whale at the dock.

Despite the unfortunate incident, the Princess Cruises line is known to have a comprehensive system on the sea that allows them to avoid hitting or bumping into whales. O'Connor claimed that ship crews have strict guidelines that they follow when a whale is in their perimeter.

Meanwhile, the NOAA will begin their investigation on how the humpback whale died once they have the species' remains in their custody.

According to NOAA Fisheries, they are still coordinating to have the dead whale brought to a location where they can conduct a necropsy to determine how it died. Since the investigation is still ongoing, they don't have any information to offer yet about the case.

According to NOAA biologists, the said humpback whale appeared to be a juvenile, KTV Alaska confirmed. This is the second time in two years that a whale had been impaled on the bow of a ship. The previous one was a fin whale found on the bow of the Zaandam of Holland America Lines in May 2016.