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Dead whale drifts out to sea

The dead finback whale that has been drifting through ­Boston Harbor washed ashore at Georges Island over the weekend before floating back out to sea, officials said.

On Monday morning, the 50-foot whale “appears to have washed out of channel out to sea,” said S.J. Port, spokeswoman for the Department of Conservation and Recreation. She said high tides and westward winds helped moved the animal’s remains out of the harbor area. They currently cannot be located.

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After the whale carcass had washed up on Georges Island, which is under the jurisdiction of the Conservation Department, officials there began putting together plans to dispose of the remains, Port said.

Preliminary figures estimated that the removal cost would be about $30,000. Because it is an endangered species, removal must be approved by the ­National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin­istration.

“Sometimes if the body is in better shape, you can attach a hook and rope to pull it into deep water,” Port said. “This carcass is severely decayed at this point. It would fall apart.”

New England Aquarium veterinarians viewed the remains on Georges Island to obtain updated measurements, said aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse. Disposal was no longer an issue when the body drifted out to sea.

Officials had been concerned about the finback’s presence in the harbor, particularly if it had continued to deteriorate. Various organs that are used to withstanding water and acid, like intestines, could pose problems to boaters in the ­harbor, Port said.

Sarah N. Mattero can be
reached at sarah.mattero@
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