Maersk Line’s containership Lexa Maersk arrived to New Zealand’s Tauranga Harbour on October 4, carrying a dead 14-meter whale on its front part, the company confirmed.
The carcass of the whale was discovered on the vessel’s bulbous bow after the 63,400 dwt boxship berthed at the port.
“The cause of the whale’s death is currently unknown and will be determined following a necropsy. We are working closely with the Port of Tauranga and New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DoC) to understand the cause of the whale’s death and to have the carcass removed for a cultural blessing, in line with local traditions,” Maersk Line’s spokesperson told World Maritime News.
The container vessel came from Brisbane and it is not known where it encountered the whale. New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) informed that the whale is believed to be a Bryde’s whale.
DOC Tauranga Rotorua District Operations Manager Jeff Milham said it appears to have just been “an unfortunate incident at sea”.
The carcass was removed from the ship in the late afternoon hours on October 4 and secured in a safe location in Tauranga Harbour overnight.
“We are now working with Tauranga Moana iwi to arrange for an appropriate location for the carcass to be disposed of,” Milham said.
Subject to having an appropriate site, the whale carcass was likely to be moved on full tide on October 5.
Maersk Like said it is committed to reducing the impacts of its vessel operations and business activities on the environment through the mitigation of natural resource depletion and pollution.