Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Flash – unverified – Superferry hits whale?

by Larry Geller

Update: HSF said they did not hit a whale, but stopped in time. See, for example, this story.

Just heading out for meetings, but this just in, via Brad Parsons (PWF=Pacific Whale Foundation?)

From PWF:
> Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2009 07:54:26 -1000
> Subject: HSF hits whale
> Today!
> 7:25- 7:30 likely off penguin bank.
> Ship comes to screaching halt, then resumes travel.
> Passenger calls directly to report the strike.
> Feds alerted.
> stand by for more details...

From EO 07-10:
6.  The company shall agree that any vessel's Master shall document and report any collision or whale approach less than 100 meters from the vessel, that in the event of a collision, the company shall document observable damage or injury to the whale and, if safe and possible, remain on scene with the whale until rescue response arrives, and within twenty-four hours of any whale collision, provide a detailed written report of the collision to the Director of Transportation and the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources.




Here's my full thoughts on the matter as opposed to someone else's:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
"Something happened today in transit from 7:25 to 7:30 am"

A passenger onboard today called an independent organization while in transit to report an incident that caused the vessel to have to "come to a stop." The passenger reported more. The vessel continued on with the voyage. The passenger and others alerted authorities. The vessel would be due at Kahului in a few minutes (~9:30am)...

Of note, the vessel was only dealing with 7 - 8 ft. open ocean waves at the time and location of the incident. See here for those conditions and here. The vessel has had difficulty with deck-slamming in vertical movement on waves larger than this, but not significantly with lateral movement in smaller waves. Lateral movement is not likely to make the deck-slamming noise. Also, situations like this at this time of year would likely involve a pod and not just one specimen.

To affirm these types of situations, it will be necessary for passengers to take pictures if at all possible, although this will be hard to do as there is a blind spot 50 to 100 yards off in all directions for passengers and from the center of the bridge. As a result, on close approach, even the bridge cannot be certain of contact or not. Best vantage point for the passengers would be from the side rear open air observation decks.

Aloha, Brad

So it is just their word that they came to a screaching halt because they ʻsawʻ a whale.

But then we have the passengers emergency call that they ʻhitʻ a whale. I would love to hear that call if it was recorded.

The abrupt stop lends possibility to the fact that it was probably a strike rather than a sighting. HSF will go through whale waters at any time it is convenient for them and there really is no concern of a whale strike...only that it could shut them down if there is a validated report.

The feds have backed off the investigation accepting HSFʻs explanation; the feds, not only HSF, will have an awful lot of explaining to do if a whale carcus washes up to shore.

I pray that it was a sighting, for the sake of the whales.

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