A baby Humpback whale which was trapped between the quayside and a ship was rescued on Monday (28/10/2013) at the Port of Table Bay in Cape Town, said the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
Officials were alerted to the whale late on Sunday night.
"It appeared too disorientated to move backwards to where the gap between the ship and the quay widened and [it] continually ... wedged itself up against the ship and the quayside where the ship’s side was pressed hard against the quayside," said NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon.
Efforts to guide the eight-metre long whale out of entrapment were unsuccessful.
It injured its mouth as it nudged against the tyre fenders of the quay.
Rescue workers decided to move the ship to make space for it to move.
"Once the ship had been moved aside, the ... crews and police divers moved in to attempt to coax the whale and to guide the whale away from the quayside,” said Lambinon.
The whale refused to move.
Police divers pushed it away from the quay but it continuously returned to its original place.
"Remarkably the whale then decided to follow the tug boat Merlot, which had by now released her lines to the now docked ship,” said Lambinon. Rescue workers assume the distressed and disorientated whale may have mistaken the ship for its mother.
"The tug boat was instructed to head out to sea and the whale followed [it] it off the Port exit to open waters.” Officials said they were cautiously optimistic that the whale would survive since it was highly disorientated and separated from its mother. They would monitor the area to check if it would return. -