The carcass of “Yodo-chan” the whale is loaded on a barge and leaves Osaka Bay on the morning of Jan. 19. (Kenji Notsu)

OSAKA--Ten days after the whale dubbed "Yodo-chan" appeared in Osaka Bay, its carcass was transported back to the waters where it came from and buried at sea.

The dead whale was loaded on a barge and left Osaka Bay on the morning of Jan. 19.

The Osaka city government arranged for the barge to transport the carcass of the sperm whale, approximately 15 meters in length and 38 tons in weight, to the Kii Channel nestled between Wakayama and Tokushima prefectures.

At around 4:50 a.m., two boats displaying orange lights left a pier in Osaka’s Konohana Ward and slowly sailed into the offshore darkness.

The boats were apparently deployed to tow the whale-loaded barge.

The vessels arrived at an area in the Kii Channel about 130 kilometers from the pier at around 3 p.m.

Then, the bottom of the barge was opened to drop the body of the whale. Concrete blocks weighing about 30 tons were attached to the carcass to ensure that it sinks to the ocean floor, which is 1,000 meters or more below the surface. 

The whale was first spotted on Jan. 9 in Osaka Bay near the mouth of the Yodogawa river. It was affectionally called Yodo-chan in reference to the river's name. 

Initially the mammal was seen spouting water. But it gradually weakened and was confirmed dead on Jan. 13.

Residents expressed their appreciation for the whale, which became a media and local sensation, and were glad that its final resting place will be in the sea.

Tadashi Kimura, 80, said, “I was born and raised near here, but it was the first time I've seen or heard about a whale in Osaka Bay.”

He said, “I was feeling affection for Yodo-chan. I’m glad the whale can return to the ocean because that’s where it grew up.”

A 77-year-old woman said she saw the whale being loaded on a barge on TV on Jan. 18.

“I hope it sinks slowly in the ocean and rests in peace,” she said.