wild files: whale shark rescue offshore thailand
2019 | Gulf of Thailand
- Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Limited operates the Erawan gas field, Thailand’s first and largest commercial natural gas field.
- The gas field is located in the Gulf of Thailand about 140 km offshore of Nakhon Si Thammarat province.
During routine operations on October 19, 2019, workers spotted a young whale shark, approximately 16.4 feet (5 meters) long, in distress close to the Erawan-A platform.
A long, thick rope was wrapped around the whale shark’s tail. It is believed the rope came from having been entangled in a fishing net.
According to the Thailand Marine and Coastal Resources Department, whale shark sightings are an indicator of rich marine resources in the Gulf of Thailand.
did you know that the whale shark is the world’s largest fish?
whale sharks are known as “gentle giants”
move at a speed of slightly more than 3 mph (4.83 km/hr)
weigh 15-21 tons
(up to 42,000 lbs or 19,050 kg) Approximately the same weight as 11-14 average size automobiles
lifespan from 70 to 100+ years
Able to reproduce around age 30
Whale sharks are listed as an endangered species by the international union for conservation of nature (IUCN) due to losses from fisheries bycatch, ghost fishing nets and vessel strikes.
After calving live young 16 to 24 inches long, adult female whale sharks leave their young to fend for themselves.
did you know?
the site supervisor assembled a team of six workers to participate in the rescue effort
a plan was devised to ensure the safety of each worker during the attempt
the rescue team successfully carried out the plan within 30 minutes
the rope was removed from the whale shark’s tail, allowing it to swim away freely
(note: this image is not the actual whale shark)
Whale sharks are recognized by the distinctive pattern of light yellow spots and pale vertical and horizontal stripes against dark gray skin.
The pattern of spots is unique to each whale shark, much like our fingerprints.
whale sharks swim close to the surface with their mouths wide open, filter feeding on a diet of plankton, shrimp, small fish and squid.
found in all tropical seas, whale sharks prefer warm water and migrate great distances in their lifetimes.
Our actions helped protect the life of an endangered species and demonstrated chevron’s commitment to protecting the environment and wildlife that live around our operations.
our actions were consistent with our goal to
we strive to avoid or reduce the potential for significant impacts on sensitive species, habitats and ecosystems
Wild Files is a series on Chevron.com that spans the world to cover interesting examples of how we deliver on our commitment to environmental stewardship.
Published: December 2019