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.