NOAA closes investigation into close call between cruise ship and humpback whales

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NOAA closes investigation into close call between cruise ship and humpback whales

was written by Adelyn Baxter, KTOO – Juneau , 2019-07-12 19:53:05

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The Eurodam, a Holland America Line ship, sits in port on Monday, June 24, 2019. Video posted to Facebook last month appears to show the ship passing close to a pod of humpback whales. (Photo courtesy Anjuli Sastry)

An investigation into an incident involving an apparent near-miss between a cruise ship and a pod of whales last month has been closed, concluding the vessel did not violate federal regulations.

Julie Speegle of NOAA Fisheries confirmed that the agency’s Office of Law Enforcement determined Holland America Line’s Eurdoam altered course and slowed speed as it approached a group of humpback whales on June 24.

Under federal law, vessels must maintain a distance of at least 100 yards from humpback whales.

A video shared widely on social media after the incident shows the Eurodam cruising by the surfacing whales.

A man in the background claims to have radioed the ship twice over the course of about 15 minutes warning it about the whales, but says it didn’t slow down.

Speegle said NOAA received several complaints from the public after the video was posted.

Mark Sutherland said he shot the video and was working on the vessel Chichagof Dream at the time.

Sutherland said he didn’t file a complaint with NOAA, but he says he was surprised the investigation had been closed so quickly and disappointed the agency did not reach out to him.

“If you can show them a video of it and they’re not going to act on it, I don’t know what you could ever do to get them to take a stance,” Sutherland said. “If that’s not damning, I don’t know what is.”

He said the incident made him angry because he was working in Seward in 2016 when Holland America’s Zaandam pulled into port with a dead juvenile fin whale draped across its bow.

He also pointed out that the Holland America Line’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, recently agreed to pay an additional $20 million in fines for felony probation violations that include illegal dumping in Alaska and elsewhere.

After the Eurodam incident, Holland America Line put out a statement saying the Eurodam’s captain altered course by 10 degrees to safely pass the whales.

“Holland America Line ships sail while following a comprehensive Whale Strike Avoidance program developed in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Parks Service,” the statement says. 

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visiting Alaska, the 49th State

Visiting Alaska, America’s icebox

You probably agree that the most interesting articles does not come from extensive educational reports but detailed reviews showing individuals and small communities. Then again, paradoxically frequently it’s the big institutions offering the more interesting and enlightening narratives. Obviously there is also a place for tourism and hospitality statistical reviews or policy assessment. Expert articles about traveling to Alaska such as NOAA closes investigation into close call between cruise ship and humpback whales assist us to take a look at the broad ideas of sustainable travel and tourism.

As outlined by several studies for the most part buyers like sustainable tourism want to think of themselves as responsible vacationers. Alaska is a region in which responsible tourism is critical.

Some experts say that the most popular spots for everybody seeing Alaska includes

Chugach National Forest. Only a third as big as Tongass National Forest, in Southeast Alaska, Chugach is nonetheless the second-largest national forest in the country and a remarkable combination of forests, rivers, lakes, mountains and glaciers. Nearly the size of New Hampshire, Chugach includes geographic diversity that is truly unique among national forests. The 5,940,000-acre forest is spread across three distinct landscapes, extending from the Kenai Peninsula east across Prince William Sound to include the Gulf Coast bordering the Copper River Delta, then east from there as far as the Bering Glacier. Wildlife is without question plentiful particularly for anyone who take the time to hike away the roadways and highways. Black and brown bear dwell in virtually all of the forest, foraging on open tundra slopes and in intertidal zones. In late summer, bears may very well be spotted feeding upon spawned-out salmon along streams and rivers. Record setting moose dwell in the Kenai Peninsula and the Copper River Delta. Dall sheep can be seen on Kenai Peninsula mountainsides, mountain goats are found upon steep hillsides along Prince William Sound, the Copper River Delta and from time to time above Portage Valley. Boaters and kayakers in Prince William Sound often see Dall porpoises, harbor seals, sea otters, sea lions, Orcas and humpback whales. In excess of 214 species of resident and migratory birds use Chugach National Forest. Seabirds, such as blacklegged kittiwakes, nest in sea cliff colonies by the thousands. Ptarmigan scurry about alpine tundra, bald eagles perch on shoreline snags and Steller’s jays forage in the underbrush. The Copper River Delta safeguards one of the largest known concentrations of nesting trumpeter swans in North America as well as the total population of dusky Canada geese. Nesting waterfowl are joined in springtime and fall by many of migrating shorebirds. Chugach offers a variety of angling options; fishermen can cast for rainbow, lake and cutthroat trout as well as Dolly Varden, Arctic grayling and all five species of Pacific salmon. Many of the fisheries are simple to get to; roadside lakes and rivers abound giving anglers an opportunity to fish without needing a boat. Chugach’s most noted fishery is the red salmon run of the Russian River in which anglers are often standing elbow-to-elbow along the river bank in July and July. Chugach is one of the handful of spots remaining in the world where glaciers pour out of the mountains and into the seas. When combined with the Bagley Icefield from where it originates, Bering Glacier is actually bigger than Switzerland. Columbia Glacier is one of the biggest tidewater glaciers in the world while Portage Glacier and it’s Begich-Boggs Visitor Center is actually one of the most widely used stops for vacationers in Alaska.

going to Chugach National Forest in Alaska, America's icebox

Traveling To Chugach National Forest in Alaska, the 49th State