UPDATE: Body of dead whale removed from Seahurst Park Beach Tuesday
UPDATE WED. 4/17/13: The body of the fin whale that washed up at Seahurst Park Beach on Saturday, April 13 was successfully removed about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night, April 16.
The carcass was towed to a remote location where it will be allowed to decompose naturally.
The total cost to the City for the removal operation, conducted by Global Diving & Salvage, was $3,100.
Story & Photos by Justin Bennett
Around 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon (April 16) workers from Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. pulled up to Seahurst Park and began preparations to remove the body of the 65-foot fin whale that washed up on the beach last Saturday morning (read our previous coverage here).
The workers were seen surveying the beach scene from the nearby bulkhead – filled with onlookers, men, women, and children of all ages taking photos around the whale.
Currently there are rope barriers set up approximately five feet around the whale, allowing the public to get pretty close – but not touch the rotting carcass. But an unnamed City Parks official was overheard instructing Global Inc. to begin setting up barricades some 40 feet back from the whale as they begin preparation to “possibly to remove it at high tide tonight,” the official said.
At least two flotation devices have been affixed to the creature’s corpse in preparations to float it later tonight.
According to their website:
“Global Diving & Salvage is the largest diving contractor on the West Coast, a leading provider of marine construction and infrastructure support services in the United States, and an internationally recognized casualty responder.”
Global’s divers, constructors, salvors, and environmental technicians have been serving the Puget Sound are since 1979. The Independent salvage company was brought in by the city. The unnamed parks official was overheard as saying that the removal of the whale with this independent contractor would cost the city approximately $5,000 dollars, as opposed to alternate methods which could cost upwards of $20,000.
Attempted removal of the whale will occur at high tide tonight, around 11 p.m., when the creature will be “chained up and towed to an undisclosed location.”
According to the city’s website, the body will then:
“…be able to naturally decompose without impact to the public.The National Marine Fisheries Service will work with local groups and scientists in the weeks and months ahead toward the goal of recovering portions of the animal, such as its skull, for scientific and educational purposes. As an endangered species, even the animal’s remains are protected by Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.”
Some locals have been trying to get the skull saved, but it’s a laborious process due to the animals’ size and thick blubber; but we’re hopeful to one day see this whale’s skull on display in B-Town!
Here are some photos taken Tuesday afternoon – click images to see larger versions/slideshow:
On a related note, the whale apparently has its own Twitter account: @deadburienwhale