BOSTON — An investigation has found that the crew of a research vessel wasn’t at fault when the boat struck an endangered right whale off the coast of Massachusetts in 2009.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency charged with protecting right whales, announced Monday that the crew of the NOAA research ship Auk “exercised due care” before and after the accident.
The NOAA investigation found that the ship’s whale observers could not have been expected to spot the whale’s sudden appearance in its path until it was too close to avoid a collision.
The agency said the ship followed the whale for 20 minutes before it dived underwater, with wounds on its tail fluke.
The North Atlantic right whale has a population of about 400.