toggle menu
Urangan boat harbour, Queensland © WWF-Aus / Jim Higgs

Urangan boat harbour, Queensland © WWF-Aus / Jim Higgs

WWF calls for investigation after whale calf lodged beneath coal tug boat

09 Sep 2015

  • climate change
  • great barrier reef
  • whales

WWF-Australia today called for an investigation into an incident in which a humpback whale calf has been found dead lodged beneath a tug boat now at Hay Point coal port south of Mackay.

WWF-Australia understands the 33 metres tug suffered engine failure last night and divers this morning found the dead whale stuck beneath the vessel.

“We need to know exactly what went wrong here. WWF is calling for a full investigation,” said WWF Reef spokesperson Richard Leck.

“Every effort should be made to determine what happened and what lessons can be possibly learned to prevent future whale fatalities.

“This highlights the challenge of operating a mega industrial port alongside the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.

“There are still plans on the table to expand shipping movements through the Great Barrier Reef. If more coal ships are allowed to pass through the Reef’s waters the risk of ship strikes on whales would increase.

“A study last year found that whales hit by ships traveling at average speed face a 50 to 70% chance of dying,” Mr Leck said.

WWF-Australia Media Contact:

Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571