Teams visit site of washed up whale on Felixstowe to plan removal

The whale not long after it was washed up at Felixstowe beach. Picture: FELIXSTOWE COAST PATROL RESC

The whale not long after it was washed up at Felixstowe beach. Picture: FELIXSTOWE COAST PATROL RESCUE SERVICE - Credit: Felixstowe Coast Patrol Rescue Service

A group of three dead whales were spotted off the coast of Suffolk this weekend – and teams are today inspecting the largest of them to plan its removal.

A minke whale washed up on Felixstowe beach. Picture: MATT STOTT

A minke whale washed up on Felixstowe beach. Picture: MATT STOTT - Credit: Archant

The first, a 40ft adult minke whale, washed up on Felixstowe beach on Saturday night – shortly before a baby minke washed up in a wildlife reserve in the River Ore at Orford.

Another adult minke died 20 miles out to sea, but is not in danger of drifting to the shore, authorities have said.

Steve Henry, communications manager at Suffolk Coastal District Council, confirmed specialist teams would be at the beach today to plan for their removal. However, it is not expected that the whale will be taken today.

It is standard procedure for large sea creatures to be removed in a lorry, rather than being towed around 20 miles out to sea.

Assessments will be made by the specialist company before the method of removal is decided, Mr Henry said.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Suffolk Coastal Norse is currently waiting for authorisation from the Marine Management Organisation for the removal of the whale.

“The UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) are also attending site today to take samples for testing before the removal of the whale can then be coordinated by Norse.”

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A British Divers Marine Life Rescue spokesman said it was not uncommon for small groups of minke to be swimming off the Suffolk coast.

A minke whale washed up on Felixstowe beach. Picture: MATT STOTT

A minke whale washed up on Felixstowe beach. Picture: MATT STOTT - Credit: Archant

He said: “They are quite abundant in the North Sea. There is often quite good feeding out there.

“The Orford one was a juvenile. There is a rumour that one of them which died possibly due to a ship strike. Until anyone has been out to both, we can’t tell.”

Poor hydration, not feeding properly, natural causes and disease are other possible reasons for the deaths.

Asked why the whale may have washed up at Felixstowe beach, she added: “A lot of them will just go to the bottom.

“But the closer to the shore they are, the more chance of them floating ashore.

“If it is filled with gases, it won’t sink.”