The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has launched an investigation into the Holland America cruise lines after an incident where a ship "may have made contact" with a pod of Humpback whales in coastal Alaska.
The 86273 ton ship, the Eurodam, was filmed sailing full speed through the middle of a pod of the baleen whales by Bret Kidd Palmer.
In the video shared to social media, water spouts from the whales' blowholes can be seen against the side of the ship. Those filming the incident were incensed. They claim the ship was warned to slow or alter course but the Eurodam seemed to not give a damn, "steaming right past them."
"You can see the whales right next to the ship," says one onlooker. "He was warned twice. And he's practically running over the top of them."
Those filming the incident could only speculate that the captain had ignored warnings, to give passengers a closer look at the massive marine mammals.
"Look at how many people have got their windows open," they said, filming the ship.
Julie Speegle, a spokesperson for NOAA told Fox News that the incident was being investigated.
"Our NOAA Office of Law Enforcement received a report Monday morning that the Holland America Line cruise ship Eurodam may have made contact with a pod of humpback whales as it was coming into Juneau, Alaska," she told media.
The video appeared to show the Eurodam clearly violating the Marine Mammal Viewing Guidelines, as the boat passed well within 100m of the creatures and at pace.
In a statement by the Holland America line they said the ship's captain altered course to follow "proper protocols" and allowed the whales to pass.
"On June 24 at 6.40am., Eurodam was en route to Juneau and slowing to pick up a pilot when the bridge watch observed a pod of humpback whales bubble feeding clear of the port bow near Kingsmill Point," read the statement.
"A nearby vessel also alerted the bridge to the pod. Following proper protocols, the captain altered course by 10 degrees to create more distance between the ship and whales, allowing them to safely pass. No announcements were made as it was early in the morning."
The cruise line said in the statement that their ships followed a "comprehensive Whale Strike Avoidance program developed in co-operation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Parks Service."
Holland America confirmed that it was conducting its own review of the incident.
In 2016 the Holland America line was investigated after a fin whale was killed, struck by the Zaandam liner coming into pot in Alaska. The incident was reported by Associated Press, but NOAA concluded its investigations saying the whale may have already been dead when it was struck by the 6100 ton boat.