Whale remains stranded off Karawang
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Heavy job on their hands: Members of a rescue team try to save a whale stranded near the coast of Tanjungpakis, Karawang, in West Java on Friday. Antara/M. Ali Khumaini
A concerted effort to drive a stranded whale off the northern coast of Karawang, West Java back to sea, over the last three days, has yet to meet with success.
At least six ships were used on Friday to drag away the whale, which weighs about 20 tons and is 18 meters long, to open sea, but the effort proved fruitless.
The ships were deployed by the Transportation Ministry, state-owned port company PT Pelindo II and state oil and gas company Pertamina.
Iben, coordinator of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), said on Friday that the joint team to salvage the whale was still striving through whatever means it could to drive the mammal back to sea.
The whale was stranded in waters at a depth of between one and two meters, thereby making it difficult for the mammal to move, Iben said as reported by Antara news agency. Iben expected the deployment of bigger ships to help evacuate the whale.
In the evacuation efforts, several members of the joint team dived into the water to help the whale move. Later, the whale was tied using nets to the ships, but it was to no avail as the ships were too small to pull it to deeper territory.
Meanwhile, the stranded whale attracted the attention of hundreds of local people who wanted a close-up look. Local residents flocked to Pakisjaya beach near the stranded whale’s location.
They later hired boats from local fishermen to approach and circle the whale, which was stranded about 500 meters from the beach.
The whale was discovered by fishermen on Wednesday. “The whale is huge and long. Its length is similar to the largest fishing boat operated along Pakisjaya beach,” said a fisherman.
The condition of the whale deteriorated on Friday, with a part of its body not submerged, thereby
causing dehydration due to the sun.
“The whale’s body is also full of wounds, especially on its back and fin,” Benvika of JAAN said.
The news also attracted the attention of members of the House Representatives’ Commission IV on maritime affairs.
They demanded the deployment of bigger ships, or if need be, a warship, to drag the whale to open sea.
“I am closely monitoring the evacuation effort. The whale’s position is difficult for big ships to approach. What can be done is moving the head of the whale in direction of the open sea and then drag it when the tide comes in,” Herman Khaeron, deputy chairman of Commission IV, said. “I also suggest the deployment of a warship to drag it using a long rope as the ship will berth far from the beach,” he said.
He added that coal ships, which were usually bigger in tonnage, could also help.
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