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This Dead Endangered Whale Would Have Loved Your Ironic Cruise Ship Essay

A 44-foot long, adult female Sei whale was found dead on the bow of a cruise ship docked at the Port of Brooklyn in Red Hook.

A cruise ship docked in Brooklyn belches toxic fumes.

A cruise ship docked in Brooklyn belches toxic fumes (Hell Gate)

It's hard to think of a business more detrimental to life on Earth than the cruise ship industry. It kills the human spirit by repackaging the experience of being locked in a dingy Florida motel as a "voyage," and it spews out two times more greenhouse gas emissions than air travel; in 2022, 218 cruise ships emitted more carbon than all of Europe's automobiles, combined. There's also the eight gallons of sewage that cruise ships discharge into the ocean per guest, per day, and the fun bouts of pooping and puking that seize people unlucky enough to board the wrong ships. 

Cruise liners have been a comically awful cliche for decades, and yet, we can't get enough—Creed and other shitty butt rock bands have packed onto a cruise ship? Sure, sign me up. Literally, the biggest and best cruise ship ever made is famous for hitting a fucking iceberg and killing 1,500 people!

This week, New Yorkers got yet another reminder of how terrible these boats are, when a 44-foot long, adult female Sei whale was found dead on the bow of a cruise ship docked at the Port of Brooklyn in Red Hook on Saturday morning. The whale, which is endangered, was towed to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, for a necropsy to determine when and how it died, but experts told the New York Post that the 214-foot tall MSC Meraviglia is the likely culprit.

Rob DiGiovanni, the founder and chief scientist of the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, however, told The Post it was more than likely that the "interaction with the vessel contributed to her death."

"It looks like she was eating," DiGiovanni said, indicating she was a healthy whale with relatively fresh food in her stomach.

How often do ships kill whales? Thousands of times a year, but that's likely an undercount, because experts estimate that only five percent of these struck whales ever wash ashore.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of any marine life," MSC said in a statement

In March, the City Council passed the Our Air Our Water Act, which requires cruise ships to plug into the electrical grid when docked at New York City ports (New York City's Economic Development Corporation opposed the legislation, because of all the money the cruise passengers bring to the city, you see). The law took effect immediately, but it obviously doesn't do anything to protect the whales that are becoming more common in New York's waters. Maybe there ought to be another law.

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