Reading the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the people from BHI that were involved with the death of the whale voilated US federal law.
Read it here:
They have no qualifications to do anything with marine mammals to begin with. Since the whale arrived there under it's own accord, and they interacted with it, they violated sections 18 A i, and 18 A ii.
It ended up dying, which may not have happened if they contacted qualified personnel who are authorized to evaluate and take the necessary steps to deal with the situation. UNCW's marine biologists said as much. Had they done the right thing, the whale might still be alive - either under appropriate care, or possibly having been evaluated, and properly transported to an appropriate release location.
(A) The term "harassment" means any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which—
(i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild; or
(ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering.
More information about formatting options