TOMS RIVER — Marine specialists said a  40-foot dead whale that washed up on a Jersey Shore beach on Wednesday morning may have been struck by a cruise ship.

The whale washed onto the beach at the end of North Surf Road in Chadwick Beach, a section of Toms River. Marine Mammal Stranding Center examined the whale, which was spotted by another ship 13 miles off New York and was first seen off Toms RIver on Tuesday.

The Stranding Center said that the whale was deteriorated from being bit by sharks to the point where a species cannot be determined.

Toms River Police spokesman Ralph Stocco told New Jersey 101.5 the whale was seen "bouncing" in and out of the surf as the high tide came in late on Wednesday morning. reported that combined with a whale, likely a juvenile humpback,  that washed up in Port Mahon, Delaware, earlier this week, the latest incident would trigger NOAA Fisheries to issue an "unusual mortality event" for whales.

The last such alert on the east coast was issued in 2015 when bottlenose dolphins stranded themselves in 2013 and 2014.

Three whales beached themselves in Delaware in 2016 while four washed ashore in 2016 and 2017.

The whale will be cut into five pieces and moved to another location.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

More from New Jersey 101.5:

Sign up for the Newsletter

Get the best of delivered to your inbox every day.