Coast Guard assists disentanglement of humpback whale

Sea World Rescue attempts to disentangle a humpback whale caught in a lobster trap off the San Diego coast Oct. 25, 2015. The whale was eventually freed with the help of the Coast Guard Cutter Petrel and National Marine Fisheries Service. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)

Sea World Rescue attempts to disentangle a humpback whale caught in a lobster trap off the San Diego coast Oct. 25, 2015.  (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)

SAN DIEGO – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Petrel assisted with the successful disentanglement of a humpback whale Sunday off the coast of San Diego.

At 9:30 a.m., Sunday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Diego received a report from the fishing vessel Dos Ballenos of a humpback whale entangled in a lobster trap  approximately 7 miles northwest of La Jolla. The trap appeared to be hindering the whale’s ability to swim and dive.

The National Marine Fisheries Service was notified and a Sea World San Diego crew agreed to respond with a rescue boat that was in the vicinity. Sea World also launched a second rescue boat crew to help with the rescue efforts.

Initially, Petrel’s crew diverted from a routine patrol to establish a safety zone around the rescue team and affected area.

At 2:02 p.m., the second rescue boat boat sustained an engine casualty during the disentanglement. Petrel’s small boat crew then embarked Sea World’s rescue team and continue disentangling the whale.

At 3:20 p.m., Petrel’s small boat inadvertently sucked up a buoy float line that was released by Sea World as a locating beacon. When the float line was pulled taught, the entangling line parted and whale was successfully freed.

“It was a great opportunity to work with these other agencies on this unique operation and have such a positive outcome,” said Master Chief Petty Officer John Bowen, Petrel’s commanding officer.

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