TWO Queensland-based offshore gas rig workers in Australia’s Bass Strait have captured the remarkable moments when a large pod of humpback whales emerged beneath them.

Footage recorded by two Queensland fly-in-fly-out workers in the Bass Strait shows the majestic sea mammals breaching right underneath their mining platform.

It’s unknown exactly where the images were filmed but according to a Gippsland Info fact sheet there are 21 offshore gas and oil mining platforms in the Bass Strait resources fields, operated in a joint venture by Exxon Mobil and BHP Billiton.

“The offshore platforms themselves have become home to many marine animals and a popular resting place for large colonies of fur seals,” the fact sheet says.

Asked whether these images were simply a chance sighting, marine biologist and Bond University associate professor Dr Darryl McPhee said the animals’ appearance was more likely due to their inquisitive nature.

“Those FIFO workers have certainly had a fantastic show,” he said.

“The whales seem to be very inquisitive as to the novel structure of the gas rig in the water.

“Offshore mining rigs such as these function as artificial reefs for a whole range of fauna. They’re an attractive place for animals of all shapes and sizes to live.

“There can be increased plankton at night as a result of light from the mining infrastructure. It’s a very different ecosystem near an offshore mining rig compared to where there isn’t one.”


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