On the 18th December, The Daily Mail reported that a large shark-like creature had been spotted in the Albert Dock of Merseyside.
A man named Simon Hoban had spotted the creature (pictured) on Google Earth saying:
I hope this won’t cause panic but the dock does free swimming sessions.
With temperatures the way they are it’s unlikely that anyone would dare go into the water purposefully anyway, but the question that instantly comes to mind is this,
Is it likely that this is really some sort of a shark in the water? Is there really any need to be worrying people about whether it is safe to go swimming?
Marine biology expert Tom Cornwell said the ‘large object’ could be a basking shark – which can grow to 35ft. He told The Daily Mail:
‘Water creatures have been known to cruise the wrong way up rivers and canals and become stranded, as with the whale on the Thames six years ago. Perhaps it was an old shark which was looking for a place to die.’
Or… perhaps it’s just a small boat turning on the water, causing a wake in the water behind it that gives the illusion of something more sinister?
A Rigid Inflatable Boat (pictured below) would certainly be smaller in size that the boats pictures moored up in the docks, and would certainly be capable of making such a manouver.
It’s also worth taking into consideration that we don’t know when the picture was taken from Google Earth (we can’t check for eye-witnesses or incident reports that may have backed up the shark theory).
Why the newspaper decided a shark would be the best theory for what is pictured is beyond me, but I feel reassured in knowing that the majority of people would have spotted this for the boat it most probably is. Hopefully.
In summary, it’s probably perfectly safe to go into the water in those areas, the only danger is hypothermia.