A cruise ship sailing in Southeast Alaska has cut its anchor free on Sunday, August 27, to release a humpback whale that was tangled in the anchor chain of the vessel.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a wealth of whales were bubble net feeding in Holkham Bay close to Tracy Arm, around 45 miles south of Juneau Sunday morning. One humpback struck the Wilderness Explorer ship and was caught in the anchor line at around 2:15 am that morning.
Alaska Whale Foundation researcher Fred Sharpe along with a team of specialists traveled from to Holkham Bay and used a camera on a long pole. They determined the anchor chain had been wrapped around the whale's lower jaw.
The situation was life-threatening for the animal and it looked like the whale had injured itself trying to get free. The team decided to cut the anchor chain at the ship. The disentanglement was successful.
The anchor is in about 100 ft of water. It can be recovered and the ship repaired. Wilderness Explorer returned to Petersburg AK for emergency anchor to be installed following the accident.