When the cruise ship Sapphire Princess docked in Vancouver Saturday morning, a surprising discovery was made. A 70-foot whale was stuck in the bow - without the captain's knowledge.
The 2,670-passenger ship was sailing a seven-night Alaska itinerary between Whittier and Vancouver. According to reports by the Vancouver Sun and Associated Press, the beast was a 70-ton fin whale, likely middle-aged, part of a threatened species as listed in the Species at Risk Act.
The carcass was taken off by a marine mammal response team and taken to a fisheries lab on Vancouver island for examination. With the necropsy completed, the whale carcass will now be returned to the ocean floor.
The collision appears to be a mystery. In a statement, Princess Cruises said, "We were shocked and saddened by this discovery, and sincerely regret the circumstances which led to the whale's death. It is unknown how or when this could have happened, as we have strict whale avoidance procedures in place when our ships are in the vicinity of marine life... which include altering course and reducing speed as required."
The last time a cruise ship arrived in Vancouver with a whale caught in its bow was in 1999, when Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Galaxy collided with a fin whale.