Carcass of Fin whale in port of Antwerp



The crane vessel Bravo lifts the carcass of the Fin Whale out of the water in the port of Antwerp. (Image: RBINS/J. Haelters)
Carcass of Fin whale in port of Antwerp
post by
Kelle Moreau

A dead fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) was found in the Deurganckdok in the port of Antwerp on Tuesday 29 August 2023. The carcass was lifted from the water by the crane vessel Brabo.

The autopsy on Wednesday confirmed that the animal died from a collision and was brought into the port on the bow of a ship. Bruising was found at the level of the pectoral fin, and the spine was also fractured at that location.

"It was a young male measuring 10.5m and weighing about 8-9 tonnes," said Jan Haelters, marine mammal expert of RBINS. "The animal was not healthy, quite a few parasites were found and the blubber layer was very thin."

The autopsy was performed by staff from the universities of Ghent, Antwerp and Liège, and civil protection provided technical support, in cooperation with the Port of Antwerp.

Due to heavy shipping traffic in the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean Sea, among others, collisions with large cetaceans are not uncommon. Also in 2009, a 20-metre fin whale ended up in the port of Antwerp after a collision. In 2015, the same happened in the port of Ghent, with an 11-metre fin whale.

Categories: Scientific News
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