Ship Hits Whale Before Traveling To Bermuda

May 8, 2014

The Norwegian Breakaway apparently hit a 45-foot Sei whale when its thruster malfunctioned while preparing to dock in Manhattan on Sunday [May 4], shortly before setting sail for Bermuda.

The carcass of the whale washed ashore later that day, and investigators are now working to determine if the collision with the large cruise ship caused its death.

The ship was originally stuck in New York’s Hudson River following the failure of the thruster, forcing it to be tugged to port.

According to a report in the Huffington Post, “The next morning, a 45-foot Sei whale – the third-largest species of whale, listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – was found dead near the shore of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.”


“The whale carcass was transported to an Army Corps of Engineers dock in New Jersey, where biologists from the The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation performed a necropsy.”

“We had our necropsy team out there all day yesterday and they found evidence of blunt force trauma, busted ribs, and a bruise along the right side of the animal,” said Robert DiGiovianni, executive director of the Riverhead Foundation.”

The full results of the necropsy aren’t expected to be available for several weeks.


“We take every precaution to avoid marine life and were saddened by the recent discovery,” Norwegian Cruise Line, the owner and operator of the Breakaway, said in a statement.

No criminality is suspected so far in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration investigation, and Norwegian Cruise Line has been cooperative, authorities said.

The incident did not adversely affect the cruise ship’s schedule; it left port in New York on Sunday and arrived at Heritage Wharf, Dockyard yesterday morning [May 7].

The Breakaway is the largest cruise ship to ever visit Bermuda. She will make 22 calls to the island this year, with the 1,063-foot ship carrying approximately 4,000 passengers and 1,500 crew.


- Photos courtesy of the NOAA

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Category: Accidents and fires, All, Environment, News

Comments (15)

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  1. Terry says:

    A sei Whale in the Hudson?
    I guess so.

    Damn ship was not going more that 4 knots or even less if it was leaving port.
    No more than nothing really.

    • RastaImposta says:


      The ship might have been doing 4 knots but the props are still spinning at a high rate.

      Think about it… it takes a lot of thrust power to move a boat let alone a ship.. not to mention how BIG the blades are on a ship… One swipe at the lowest shaft rotation would cut you in half..

      • Gavin says:

        The props on ships such as this revolve quite slowly (150rpm when fully underway). And the props are only about 20 feet in diameter. They are optimized for this type of use

  2. BdaGrl47 says:

    Approximate 25 ton whale against an approximate 150 ton ship…that might just jar the stuffing outta him, yathink?!?

    • Society of weights and measures says:

      You think a ship weighs 150 ton?

      • Lorraine Simon says:

        the Norwegian Breakaway weighs 144 tons.

        • LIGHTBULB.. says:

          Type: Cruise ship
          Tonnage: 144,017 GT
          Length: 324 m (1,063 ft)
          39.7 m (130.2 ft) – At Waterline[2]

          51.7 m (169.6 ft) – Max[3]
          Draft: 8.30 m (27 ft)
          Decks: 18
          Speed: 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph)
          Capacity: 4,500
          Crew: 1,600

        • um um says:

          “Gross Tons. A unit of enclosed passenger space on a cruise ship, such that one gross ton = 100 cubic feet or 2.831 cubic meters”

          Taken from –

          cruise ships are more in the thousands of tons range in terms of weight

  3. mangrove tree says:

    What usually happens ,is that the ship while out at sea , travelling at high speed , collides with whales which are on the surface, the whale gets stuck and held above the bulbous bow until the ship slows down dramaticlly, such as when entering port.

  4. somuchless says:

    Did someone order sushi?

  5. BdaGrl47 says:

    My error, I left off the “000″s…

  6. Bermy Girl says:

    So very sad, especially since this species is endangered. Hope it doesn’t happen again.

  7. seriously says:

    Human beings once again taking over everything with our arrogance and destroying nature. Very sad.

  8. BermudaGirl says:

    Poor whale! Must have been a horrible death!

  9. hmmm says:

    dont put it back in the water, we dont need any shark near shore