The Port of Tacoma is working with marine mammal response network members to determine the cause of death of a whale discovered Friday in a Commencement Bay waterway.

UPDATED 8/10/2009: Saturday's necropsy results showed shattered ribs and bruising, indicating the whale likely was killed by a ship.

A Port Security officer spotted the whale, estimated to be 30 to 35 feet long, at the south end of the Blair Waterway. It’s unclear yet whether the whale, believed to be a fin or sei, came in with a container ship. Members of the response network, which includes NOAA-Fisheries, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Cascadia Research Collective, said the whale also appeared to have a throat injury, which might indicate an attack by an Orca or other animal.

The Port is having the whale towed to a secure location, where wildlife biologists can examine it Saturday morning to determine the cause of death.

About the Port of Tacoma
The Port of Tacoma is an economic engine for South Puget Sound, with more than 43,000 family-wage jobs in Pierce County and 113,000 jobs across Washington state connected to Port activities. A major gateway to Asia and Alaska, the Port of Tacoma is among the largest container ports in North America. The Port is also a major center for bulk, breakbulk and project/heavy-lift cargoes, as well as automobiles and trucks.

Contact: Tara Mattina, Port of Tacoma, (253) 428-8674