File picture: Supplied/SAWDN

Yzerfontein - A juvenile whale entangled in rope near Dassen Island, some 10km off-shore of Yzerfontein on the West Coast, has been successfully freed, the South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) said on Saturday.  

SAWDN volunteers were activated minutes after 7am on Friday morning to assist where an environment, forestry, and fisheries department (DEFF)) research boat, Ellen Khuzwayo, was on the scene at a DEFF research rope anchored to the sea bed about five nautical miles north of Dassen Island. A seven metre juvenile humpback whale had become entangled in the rope, SAWDN spokesman Craig Lambinon said in a statement.

A SAWDN team from Cape Town responded to join SAWDN Yzerfontein volunteers. Two NSRI sea rescue craft with SAWDN volunteers and specialised disentanglement cutting equipment on board were launched by NSRI Yzerfontein duty crew to assist in the operation.

On arrival on the scene in calm sea conditions, the whale was found to be in a healthy condition and the SAWDN volunteers found one wrap of rope around the whale's caudal peduncle and a bunch of rope attached to that one wrap with two floatation buoys attached.

In a disentanglement operation lasting half-an-hour, using the specialised cutting equipment, the rope line around the caudal peduncle was cut and recovered with the bunch of rope and the floatation buoys, and the whale swam away confidently. SAWDN volunteers were satisfied that this operation was successful, Lambinon said.

African News Agency (ANA)