A LONG-finned pilot whale which has got into difficulty in Sullom Voe is threatening to force work to stop on the new gas pipeline for the Total plant currently under construction.
The five metre long whale was first seen swimming near the Sella Ness harbour buildings on Thursday and environmentalists kept a close eye on the creature until the early hours of Friday morning.
During that time the whale beached, and then thrashed its tail until it was back swimming in the water again.
By Friday morning the whale was floating just off the beach directly outside Sullom Voe oil terminal, occasionally swimming in circles and then resting again.
Andrew Inkster, engineering manager for Shetland Islands Council’s ports and harbours department, said the whale had first been seen with two other whales in Brae earlier in the week.
All three had appeared at Sullom Voe on Thursday morning and during the day the two healthy whales had disappeared, leaving this creature on its own.
Dutch marine contractors Van Oord are working nearby loading rock onto barges and transporting it to dump on top of the inshore section of two gas pipelines that have been laid next to Total’s gas plant construction site.
“If it goes over to the pier we shall have to cease operations until it decides what it wants to do,” Mr Inkster said.
He added that there was concern that people coming to see the whale could impede the trucks carrying rock by parking their vehicles close by.
Jan Bevington, of Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, spent several hours watching the whale on Thursday evening. Speaking from Sullom Voe on Friday, she said the whale was not in good condition at all.
“It’s completely disoriented and I don’t know how long it will hold, but it’s better than last night, so we shall just have to wait and see what happens,” she said.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 350 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or by monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News