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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Watch: Dead whale washes up at Khor Fakkan port

The whale was covered in cuts as though it had been injured by boat propellers 

A whale washes up at Khor Fakkan Port on Monday.
A whale washes up at Khor Fakkan Port on Monday.

A dead whale was towed into Khor Fakkan Port on Monday after being found in UAE waters by port officials.

The carcass, seemingly that of a blue whale, measured between 18 to 27 metres, according to witnesses.

The whale was first spotted roughly four nautical miles from the port by port marine officials at 8.30am, who then towed the carcass to shore.

"It appeared to have washed into the country's waters by the strong current that the area has been experiencing for the past two days," said Tarek Al Hamadi, manager of administrative and security affairs at Khor Fakkan Port.

"The whale seemed to be injured by vessels in international waters as its body has a lot of wounds," he said.

Khaled Al Raissi, an Emirati working at the port, said the whale was brought into the port at 11.30am and he too saw the wounds on it's body.

"It is a huge whale, 27 metres long, cuts and wounds appeared on his body and it looks like he was injured by one of the vessels propellers," said Mr Al Raissi, 24.

"Teams from the municipality, coastguards and police came to the site and they managed to pull him out of the water," Mr Al Raissi said.

Mr Al Hamadi said the authorities had yet to identify the type of whale but its body has been transferred to Kalba for further study.

The mottled blue-gray body colouration, size, dorsal flipper and position of the dorsal fin visible from the videos match the description of Blue whale, said Dr Ada Natoli, founder of the UAE Dolphin Project.

There has been no record of a stranded blue whale in the UAE Indian ocean coastline over the past 10 years, she said.

"The movements of these whales in the Northern Indian Ocean are poorly understood, as reported in literature, and from these records to 2012 no sightings or strandings of this species have been reported from the UAE coastline," Dr Natoli said.

She said the missing posterior of the carcass and numerous wounds described by witnesses suggest that the whale could have been deadly injured in a boat strike.

Whale sightings in UAE waters are rare. Last month, a female humpback whale and a small calf were sighted one kilometre off the coast of Dubai.

The sighting was the first confirmed live record of the highly-endangered species in the Arabian Gulf waters of the UAE, according to marine biologist Robert Baldwin, who studies the whales and dolphins of the UAE and Oman, according to state news agency Wam.

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Read more:

Endangered Arabian humpback spotted off Dubai coast

20-metre sperm whale found dead on Fujairah coast

Major research project aims to unravel the mystery of the deep-sea whales off Fujairah’s coast

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