At 08h44 on Wednesday, 17 August, 2011 our NSRI Simonstown volunteer duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of a whale beached at Danger Beach, next to St James Beach.
The Department of Environment – Oceans and Coasts, a volunteer Fish Hoek Disaster Management team, the SPCA, the SA Navy, Law Enforcement officers, a Police Dive Unit, and NSRI Simonstown and NSRI Strandfontein were activated.
NSRI Simonstown launched two sea rescue craft, NSRI Strandfontein launched a Rescue Runner and Law Enforcement officers and Fish Hoek volunteer Disaster Management officers donned wet-suits to assist.
It was confirmed by SPCA veterinary surgeons and by the Department of Environment – Oceans and Coasts, on arrival on–scene, that the 8 meter juvenile, 5.5 ton Southern Right whale was seriously ill and shortly after arriving on-scene an SPCA veterinary surgeon confirmed that the whale had died.
It appears that the whale was already in an advanced stage of deteriorating health, according to Mike Meyer, Department of Environment – Oceans and Coasts.
NSRI Simonstown volunteered to tow the whale carcass off the rocks, a tow-line was secured to their craft SPIRIT OF SAFMARINE III, by using NSRI Strandfontein’s Discovery Rescue Runner. NSRI volunteers, Law Enforcement officers and volunteers from Fish Hoek Disaster Management steadied the whale carcass in the water while it was gently pulled out to sea by the deep-sea NSRI rescue craft.
The whale carcass was towed to the Simonstown Naval Dockyard where Naval Dockyard personnel arranged a Navy crane and the whale was hoisted onto a City of Cape Town Cleansing Department flat bed horse and trailer and the whale carcass has been transported to a Department of Environment – Oceans and Coasts laboratory for a forensic autopsy.
NSRI are grateful to radio media who broadcast a request for members of the public to stay clear of the scene to allow the authorities the opportunity to work on the scene and grateful to the public for their cooperation in the incident.