​Rare Fin Whale sighting made by ORCA OceanWatch survey team in the North Sea 

Sighting was made from on board the DFDS’ ferry, Princess Seaways, on 28 July as it sailed South past Whitby.

A rare sighting of a fin whale was made by the ORCA survey team on Tuesday 28 July as the ship sailed near to Whitby en route from Newcastle to IJmuiden, near Amsterdam. They are more regularly seen in deeper waters such as the Bay of Biscay.

The ORCA survey team on board was led by Brian Clasper, who along with Sophie Wild made the sighting 600m off the starboard side of the ship.  Brian said,

‘Sophie and I were on the starboard side of the bridge routinely scanning and about 600m away a fin whale rose to the surface appearing to try to log before it dived.  We just looked at each other gobsmacked.’

Not only was there a fin whale but also six bottlenose dolphins, one white-beaked dolphin and three harbour porpoises were sighted by the team, which also included Suzanne Makki and Phoenix Davies.

The team is surveying in the North Sea as part of ORCA OceanWatch, an annual offshore study of whales, dolphin and porpoises seen around the UK. DFDS has partnered with ORCA to help them achieve their conservation goals of establishing cetacean (collective name for whales, dolphins and porpoises) activity in UK waters, to help protect and conserve them and their habitats.

Find out more about OceanWatch and other ferry, cruise, freight and naval vessels involved in the project:

As part of the wildlife spotting season, special marine wildlife mini cruises are available for passengers on board the King Seaways. The two-night mini cruises combine relaxing cruise-style travel from Newcastle to Amsterdam, with guided deck watches and seminars and activity sessions led by ORCA trained officers.

For further information about DFDS or to book a wildlife mini cruise visit www.dfds.co.uk or call 0871 574 7235.

If you would like to get involved with ORCA, you can train as a Marine Mammal Surveyor and join one of our surveys around the UK.  Find out more on the website: http://www.orcaweb.org.uk/get-involved/train.

For media enquiries contact:
Caroline Walker on 01732 779087 / dfdspr@westgatecomms.com

Notes to Editors

About DFDS

DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of around 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships.

DFDS prides itself on offering world-class facilities and services and the widest choice of ferry routes into northern Europe.

In the UK, the company operates passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe.

DFDS has been named the ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for the last four years (2011-14), as well as ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ at the prestigious 2014 World Travel Awards. It was also the only recommended ferry operator nominated by Which? Travel (2011).

DFDS operates up to 44 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes.  It also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam. In addition, the DFDS network includes a passenger and freight service between Newhaven to Dieppe, which has four daily sailings and is operated by Transmanche Ferries. For further information about DFDS, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, visit www.dfds.co.uk.

About ORCA

  • ORCA logo attached, images of whales and dolphins available
  • ORCA is one of Europe’s leading whale and dolphin charities, dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoise in UK and European waters.

ORCA monitors whale and dolphin populations, helps protect vulnerable habitats and works to protect large whales from ship strike. Together with governments, research institutions and other conservation charities we strive to create safer places for whales and dolphins.

For more information on ORCA, please visit www.orcaweb.org.uk.


We are Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator 2012-2019 & the World’s Leading Ferry Operator 2011-2018!​​