The Icelandic Coast Guard Vessel Þór will arrive at Árneshreppur on the north coast of the Westfjords next week to remove over fifty pilot whale carcasses from the beach, RÚV reports. Þór will then dispose of the carcasses far enough out to sea that the tide won’t bring them back to shore.
The whales were stranded in Árneshreppur last weekend and died on the beach. Since then, the local government has discussed ways to dispose of the decomposing carcasses. Municipal Council Chair Eva Sigurbjörnsdóttir told RÚV that the Coast Guard Vessel is scheduled to arrive next Tuesday, and that locals are relieved that a solution has been found.
Locals were surprised to see the whales swim ashore. Farmer Björn G. Torfason told RÚV last week that he had never before seen anything like the pod of whales on the beach. A team of scientists from the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute of Iceland has taken samples from the animals, but what caused the pod to swim to land is unknown. The MFRI hopes to gather information on the whales’ physical condition at their time of death, their age and how related the whales in the pod were.