Port of Long Beach

Marine Mystery: Ship Might Have Struck Whale Found Dead Near Port of Long Beach

The whale will likely be towed out to sea after scientists study the carcass

A whale was found dead near the Port of Long Beach Wednesday, and authorities are trying to determine how it got there.

The U.S. Coast Guard and fire officials received a call around 6 p.m. of the dead whale in a Long Beach Harbor shipping lane, according to Jake Heflin of LBF.

Fire crews secured the marine animal to a pier overnight until the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration could arrive at the scene to investigate the whale’s cause of death. Scientists arrived late Thursday morning to conduct a necropsy. 

It is not common to find a whale in a busy port area. Port authorities said it's the only whale carcass to turn up in the harbor in the last 10 years. 

NOAA estimates the whale's size at 50 feet and photos indicate it could be a Fin whale, which migrates north to south this time of year.

"It has abrasions on its midsection which could possibly be from a ship strike," NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein said.

Scientists will look for underlying illness that would cause the whale to enter the busy port as well as injuries, wounds and any indication the whale was struck by a ship or entangled in ropes. 

Once scientists have gleaned information from the carcass, they will likely have it towed offshore and sunk in the ocean.

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