A necropsy performed on a 45-foot-long sei whale found dead in New York Harbor on Monday showed that the creature suffered from blunt-force trauma, though it's still unclear whether a collision with a cruise ship on Sunday ultimately caused its death.
The crash, which reportedly stalled 4,500 home-bound passengers for three hours on Sunday at the conclusion of their Caribbean cruise, left the whale with bruising and broken ribs, said Robert DiGiovanni Jr., executive director of the Riverhead Foundation. Whether it killed the animal—a 45-year-old female—is unknown.
Norwegian Cruise Lines, the operator behind the 1,060-foot Norwegian Breakaway that apparently struck the whale, released the following statement, denying that Sunday's delay was caused by the strike:
Norwegian Cruise Line has a strong commitment to protection of the oceans on which we sail. The company has extensive whale avoidance protocols in place and follows the speed restriction guidelines set by NOAA in seasonal management areas. We take every precaution to avoid marine life and were saddened by the recent discovery.
The company continues to cooperate fully with NOAA.
It should be noted that Norwegian Breakaway’s delayed arrival on Sunday May 4 to New York was not related to this matter.
The whale was first spotted floating near the Brooklyn Army Terminal on Monday around 9:30 a.m. DiGiovanni said it bore no propeller marks, and the Riverhead Foundation, which conducted the necropsy, are still performing tissue and blood tests.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who towed the whale from the harbor to a facility in New Jersey, will bury its massive corpse in a landfill, according to the Daily News.