A whale was struck on Tuesday night by the same ferry we had been on earlier in the day. Eyewitnesses said that the whale had breached right in front of the ferry, barely 3 minutes after the ferry had left Colman Dock in Seattle. There really was nothing that could be done to avoid the collision.
It was a juvenile humpback whale that was struck, and the blow to the animal was likely fatal. The ferry is so large and heavy that the impact was barely felt on the vessel. The US Coast Guard is now on the lookout for the wounded or dead whale. As of Wednesday night, no sighting of the whale had been reported.
From KUOW.org: While the collision may have been a first in the records of Washington State Ferries, humpback whales are becoming more common in Puget Sound and the risk of future collisions with all manners of marine vessels is increasing. Since the late 1980s, humpback whale numbers have shown ‘a remarkable and strong recovery’, says research biologist and whale expert John Calambokidis at Olympia-based Cascadia Research. Their numbers increased more than four fold to approximately 3,000 along California, Oregon and Washington. Commercial whaling was outlawed in 1966.