The 20-metre-long fin whale impaled by a cruise ship underwent a necropsy yesterday; however, analysts have yet to discover if the ship killed the whale or if it was dead prior to being hit.

“Tissue samples will have to be analyzed so it’ll be a while before we can determine what the cause was,” said Paul Cottrell, marine mammals co-ordinator for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The whale was found dead and lodged onto the bow of a cruise ship early Saturday morning, drawing hundreds of spectators to the Port of Vancouver.

Princess Cruises, which owns the Sapphire Princess, said they believe the ship hit the mammal somewhere between Alaska and the north end of Vancouver Island.

“We were shocked and saddened by this discovery,” Princess Cruises said in a news release.

“We take our responsibility to be good stewards of the marine environment very seriously, and have clear guidelines for our ships on how to operate if whales are sighted nearby, which include altering course and reducing speed as required.”

Cottrell said that the carcass will be buried at sea.