Another day, another stranding and another antropogenic noise activity near the stranding site. This time we have found interesting information in regard to two mass starndings: one happened today (10/25/12) near North Andaman Island (link) and another happened 10/14/2012 in New Zealand (link)
Mass Stranding #1. North Andaman Island
The news appeared today that a pod of 40 short finned pilot whales was found by a fishermen on the beach in North Andaman Island, no rescue was done and it appears all whales are gone now. One official made a remark that it is very unusual place for stranding so we naturally checked our sources about what has been going on in the area. Some “hazardous operations” were in effect close to India’s East Coast, but closer to the stranding site there have been ongoing geophysical operations (some sort of surveys) by M/V DAYANG SARI and M/V VOLANS. See the map above, the area of this survey is only 24o km away from the strading site. These surveys have been in progress and will end by November 10, 2012.
M/V Volans belongs to Trinity Offshore, this company that works with seismic survey vessels (link). M/V DAYANG SARI also has an interesting mission. It has been doing surveys for “international oil and gas operator ” offshore that included “the acquisition of single beam echosounder bathymetry, side scan sonar (SSS), sub bottom profiler (SBP) and digital seismic data.” (link)
Note the use of side-scan sonar, we have several standings now associated with it as well.
So yet ANOTHER coincidence, right? Another “natural” stranding?
Mass Stranding #2. New Zealand
This mass stranding of 50+ pilot whales was barely reported on when it happened at the Whangaparaoa Beach, near Cape Runaway, NZ. Whales were found on Sunday morning, NZ Department of Conservation took some sweet time to show up, Project Jonah (NZ “rescue”) “did not learn” about this stranding until someone posted about it on their FB page. Strangely and perhaps ironically Project Jonah was doing their “training” for new volunteers on October 14th in Auckland, only 6 hr drive away from the stranding site. So as DOC was executing whales at the close range, Project Jonah was playing with their rubber whales nearby (link). NZ DOC rep gave usual BS explanation that:
Whales were buried on the beach, no necropsy naturally and everything was sweet and peachy. Well, not exactly. We started to ask around and our source gave us some very interesting information. Apparently some “hazardous operation” area was located offshore only 260 km or so from the stranding site. But here is a twist. Stranding was reported Sunday morning (10/14/2012), and according the plan hazardous operations were scheduled to start 21:00 UTC time on 10/16/12 which converts to 10:00 on 10/17/2012, nearly 3 days after the “reported” mass stranding. If we are to believe that reporting and dates were correct then seemingly whales stranded way before hazardous operations commenced. However, previous research reported one curiously similar case from Australia in 2005, when whales mass stranded in 3 waves, with first wave stranded BEFORE “the arrival of two Royal Australia naval vessels” (link) (p. 1249).
So what does it all mean? First we need to be absolutely sure that pilots stranded exactly when NZ DOC said they did. Next, “hazardous operations” most likely include some sort of preparations and perhaps even some testing that might not count as the actual exercise. What is also strange is that this case is so very similar to Cape Verde mass stranding where stranding seemingly started before the actual “hazardous operations” (link)
What is unsettling is that NZ stranding is in fact mass stranding #3 that has some sort of strange albeit not direct connection to “hazardous operations” (the previous two were Florida and Cape Verde). This alone makes us very, very suspicious.