Pictures have revealed the horror moment a whale carcass emerged from underneath a Royal Australian Navy destroyer over the weekend.
Two dead whales were discovered under a Royal Australian Navy ship as it docked in the US state of California over the weekend.
About 9.45am local time on Saturday, the carcasses of two fin whales became dislodged from the hull of HMAS Sydney before surfacing at the Naval Base in San Diego.
One was 20m in length while the other was about 8m.
It is not yet known how the whales were killed, but the carcasses were retrieved with booms before they were removed.
The incident, which happened at the Naval Base San Diego in southern California, was confirmed by the Australian Department of Defence in a statement to Nine on Wednesday.
HMAS Sydney has been in the area conducting joint exercises with the US navy since early April.
“The Royal Australian Navy can confirm that as HMAS Sydney was berthing alongside Naval Base San Diego in California two deceased whales dislodged from her hull beneath the surface,” the statement said.
“The US navy and the Royal Australian Navy are co-operating with the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries and other agencies to review the incident.
“The navy takes marine mammal safety seriously and is disheartened this incident occurred.”
John Calambokidis, a research biologist at the Cascadia Research Collective in Washington, told ABC San Diego the collisions could have taken place anywhere.
However, he said fin whales were found off San Diego’s coast year round.
“In the vast majority of cases I’m familiar with, the ship is unaware of having struck the whale,” he said.
“While it is possible they could be separate incidents, it also possible this is a mother and calf from the size distribution,” Mr Calambokidis said.