Whale Carcass Found Lodged to Bow of Grand Princess in Alaska

For most, going on a cruise vacation is a relaxing and enjoyable experience. After months of planning for the voyage, you often want nothing more than to be able to sit back, relax, and just enjoy. The cruise industry is growing for many reasons, but we think one of the main ones is that, once you are on board, there is very little that you need to arrange. Everything–from food to activities–is preplanned and ready for your enjoyment, so you can take a few days away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and just enjoy yourself.

That said spending time on a cruise is not always a breeze. Despite your preparation and the cruise line’s best attempts at minimizing inconveniences, occasionally situations come up that are out of everyone’s control. A recent story out of Alaska illustrates this point.

This week, the Princess Cruise Line’s Grand Princess discovered that it had a dead humpback whale stuck to its bow as it sailed into the port of Ketchikan, Alaska. The company was reportedly both surprised and saddened to discover the carcass. Spokesperson for Princess Cruises, Brian O’Connor said, “It is unknown how or when this happened as the ship felt no impact…It is also unknown, at this time, whether the whale was alive or already deceased before becoming lodged on the bow.”

According to reports, the cruise has a specific program in place to avoid disturbing the whales in their natural habitat. As part of this program, ships are required to remain at least 100 yards away from the whales and limit viewing time to 30 minutes. Ships near humpback whales are also required to go 10 knots per hour or less.

The reason for these measures is to avoid potentially harming the whales. Since the cause of death is still unknown, it is unclear how this whale lodged on to the front of the ship. A planned necropsy should uncover what ultimately caused this whale’s death.

Cruises Must Protect Passengers, Employees, and the Environment

We are hopeful that the cruise line was not to blame. However, if it was, it might be time to consider enacting new whale safety measures to ensure that this does continue to happen.  Last year, an endangered fin whale lodged on to the front of a cruise ship in Alaska.

The cruise industry has a responsibility to its passengers, employees and the environment. Although we believe safety should always be the first priority, we also believe that a cruise line should always minimize the impact it has on the ecosystems through which it sails. If the current measures to protect whales are not working, it is time to revise them.

Let LMAW Handle Your Case

We are thankful that no passengers or crew suffered any harm from this event. However, as a maritime law firm, we also know that this is not always the case. Accident and injury aboard cruises takes place far more often than anyone would like. If you believe that your cruise line is at fault for your injury, a maritime lawyer on our team is here to help.

With over 100 years of combined experience, we understand the hard work and commitment it takes to achieve successful results. Therefore, if you have a case and are ready to take on the cruise line, do not hesitate to contact us.