Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Necropsy shows whale found in Tampa Bay was killed by ship strike

ST. PETERSBURG — The Bryde's whale found floating in the Port of Tampa on Sunday morning was killed by a ship in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"We have determined this is a clear-cut case of a ship strike," said NOAA stranding coordinator Blair Mase. "There is evidence of both premortem blunt trauma and postmortem blunt trauma," indicating to biologists that the whale was killed by a ship, draped across its bow and carried into port.

The whale, a lactating 41.5-foot female, had severe fractures and cuts along her body, some of which could have occurred during the long tow that brought the whale to Fort De Soto Park for a necropsy.

The whale was buried at the park Monday.

An NOAA expert will investigate what type of ship struck the whale "not from an accusatory standpoint, but to gain information," Mase said. Factors like hull type and speed could allow researchers to push for safer shipping methods.

The ship's crew, Mase said, most likely felt the impact. "If you strike a live whale, you're going to know it and hear it and feel it," she said. Carrying the whale into port may not have been as easy to sense.

Drew Harwell can be reached at or (727) 445-4170.

Volunteers from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium examine a female whale during a necropsy at Fort De Soto Park Monday.


Volunteers from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium examine a female whale during a necropsy at Fort De Soto Park Monday.

Necropsy shows whale found in Tampa Bay was killed by ship strike 10/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 9:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)