Watch: Hero crewman jumps off ship's deck, saves whale trapped in fishing net

A sailor has been hailed a hero for leaping off the deck of a cargo ship to free a whale trapped in a fishing net.

In video posted on YouTube, the crew of the Bahamas-registered Cheikh El Mokrani can be heard urging their crew mate to jump as he hesitates at the ship's railing.

He then leaps 12 metres into the ocean, resurfaces and swims over to the giant whale which is clearly struggling in the net at the surface.

Another man joins him and they both push the whale free, to cheers and clapping from the crewmen watching the rescue effort from the ship.

The video has been watched nearly 250,000 times on YouTube where one viewer wrote "I salute you" and another commented, "Fantastic humanitarian act of kindness, I applaud them."

Another posted: "Bravo to that dude for being totally fearless and saving a whale."