Humpback whale struck, lodged on tanker

June 4, 2009 5:54:36 AM PDT
Wildlife officials say an oil tanker struck an endangered humpback whale and carried its carcass on its bow into Alaska's Port Valdez.

Crewmen on an escort vessel spotted the 40- to 50-foot whale along the water line of the tanker Kodiak when the ship docked late Tuesday.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman Sheila McLean said the whale was lodged on the bulbous protrusion of the ship's bow.

Valdez residents say they can't remember a similar incident in the 30 years that tankers have been pulling in to pick up oil from the trans-Alaska pipeline.

Officials say they don't know if the whale was alive when it was struck by the ship on Monday.

Federal officials planned to tow the carcass to sea and sink it.

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