This month, Sea Shepherd has sailed to the Faeroe Islands, a Danish Protectorate, to stop their notorious annual slaughter of endangered Pilot Whales. This atrocity is known as the “Grindadrap”, or the “Grind” for short. This will be Sea Shepherd’s first return to the islands to actively intervene in over ten years.
In this year’s campaign, Sea Shepherd’s vessels, the Steve Irwin and the Brigitte Bardot (skippered by Sea Shepherd veteran, Locky Mclean) will be down in the islands. Two Faeroese Nationals have also joined Sea Shepherd’s efforts to stop the Grind, and boarded the Brigitte Bardot on July 19th in Torshavn Harbour. Sea Shepherds intentions in the Faeroe Islands are not to protest or speak out against the slaughter, but to use “aggressive non-violence” at the islands. This includes deploying acoustical devices to make a barricade of sound in the path of the migrating Pilot Whales to lead them away from the islands. Sea Shepherd also intends to film and document the disgraceful activities in the Islands and share it with the public to create awareness; this has been highly effective in campaigns to stop whaling.
Days before departure, the Steve Irwin, Sea Shepherd’s flagship vessel, was detained by a Maltese Fishing Company, Fish & Fish, who filed a civil suit. This suit is claiming that Sea Shepherd damaged property that the fishing company claimed to own. Fish & Fish are referring to damage done to Bluefin tuna fishing gear by Sea Shepherd in 2010.
Sea Shepherd’s interceptor ship, the Brigitte Bardot has arrived in the Faeroe Islands, but before the Steve Irwin can leave, Sea Shepherd must post a bond for USD$1,411,692.87, or the flagship vessel will be detained and possibly sold. Captain Paul Watson personally asks for his supporters to help. If you wish to help, please donate to Sea Shepherd.
On June 21, Sea Shepherd’s interceptor ship, the Brigitte Bardot, investigated an enormous underwater Pilot Whale graveyard. The massive, secret underwater graveyard was first discovered during last year’s Operation Grind Stop campaign by Sea Shepherd France President Lamya Essemlali, currently onboard the Brigitte Bardot. The Pilot Whale carcasses are discarded into this crevice after grinds in Vestmanna and Leynar. This secret graveyard is 20 meters underwater. Sea Shepherd divers, Simon Ager and Beck Straussner dove down into this crevice to confirm this secret graveyard. Local household and industrial waste is also discarded on this cliff face. “The Faroese claim that the grind is a beautiful, religious rite of passage. But at the same time, they discard the bodies of these beautiful creatures into a trash pit that also contains tractor and generator parts amongst other industrial waste,” said Ager.
Sea Shepherd plans to continue its patrols of the islands searching for pilot whales during Operation Ferocious Isles, “a campaign designed to defend and protect pilot whales. ‘The pilot whales are our clients. And like good shepherds, we will continue to stand by to defend them,’ said Captain Fraser Hall of Canada.”