Danish Navy helps Faroe Islanders kill 33 pilot whales

| 1st September 2014
Stranded whales in the 2014 'grind' on the Faroe Islands reduced to butchered meat. Photo: Sea Shepherd.
Stranded whales in the 2014 'grind' on the Faroe Islands reduced to butchered meat. Photo: Sea Shepherd.
The Danish Navy has just supported the annual 'grind' cetacean slaughter on the Faroe Islands, seizing three boats used by Sea Shepherd to obstruct the hunt, and detaining their crew. The move enabled whale hunters to slaughter an entire pod of 33 pilot whales.
It is Denmark, an 'anti-whaling' EU member nation, that has acted in blatant defiance of the law by protecting this heinous massacre of whales.

Following their arrest on Saturday for attempting to prevent the slaughter of 33 pilot whales in the Faroe's annual 'grindadrap' cetacean slaughter, 14 crew members have been released.

However three small boats seized by the Royal Danish Navy are being held as 'evidence' until the crew returns to court at the end of the month.

A total of 14 volunteer crewmembers of Sea Shepherd's pilot whale defense campaign Operation GrindStop 2014 arrested on Saturday in the Faroe Islands have been released.

In a sneaky legal move, the six land crew are appearing in court today - but the eight boat crew have been given a court date of 25th September - and their three boats are being held until then as evidence denying their use to disrupt the hunt until then.

All video and still camera data cards were also taken by police as 'evidence' and are still being held.

The members of the onshore team led by Sea Shepherd USA and the offshore team led by Sea Shepherd France were arrested as they attempted to protect a pod of 33 pilot whales from the brutal mass slaughter known as the 'grindadrap' or 'grind'.

Sea Shepherd was on the scene immediately, but as the pod was driven in from very close to shore, there was little time to prevent the slaughter. The panicked pilot whales thrashed in the water and could be heard screaming in pain as the water turned red with blood.

Denmark's navy to the defence of whalers

As an EU member Denmark is subject to laws prohibiting the slaughter of cetaceans, however it has supported the Faroese whale slaughter by sending the Royal Danish Navy to defend the 'grind', working alongside alongside Faroese police.

Denmark's Navy seized three Sea Shepherd small boats - Loki, the Mike Galesi, and the B.S. Sheen (sponsored by actor Charlie Sheen) - and their crew were arrested and flown to Torshavn by Royal Danish Navy helicopter.

"The 14 brave, dedicated volunteers who risked their own safety to put themselves between a pod of pilot whales and their killers have been released today", said Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson.

The volunteers, he added "are not criminals, but heroes. It is Denmark, an 'anti-whaling' EU member nation, that has acted in blatant defiance of the law by protecting this heinous massacre of whales."

Whale flesh dumped at sea and onshore

The whale killers also left pilot whale meat and fins to rot on the ground - undermining numerous PR claims that the hunt is carried out for subsistence and that no part of the killed cetaceans goes to waste.

At the whale processing facility on Sunday, Sea Shepherd volunteers discovered discarded whale flesh, as well as tiny fins that appear to be from babies taken from their mother's wombs, simply left as garbage. The crew described the stench in the area of the discarded flesh as "unbearable".

Sea Shepherd also recently discovered discarded whale flesh from a slaughtered pod of beached bottlenose whales dumped at sea by the Faroese whalers, capturing images and footage with its drone force.

Pregnant female, infant and juvenile whales are often killed in grind hunts, as the Faroese whalers wipe out entire pods and generations at a time.

Sea Shepherd has led the opposition against the slaughter of cetaceans in the Faroe Islands since the 1980s. Launched in June, Operation GrindStop 2014 is Sea Shepherd's largest Faroe Islands campaign to date.

The multi-national land and sea-based campaign features hundreds of volunteers who will be present in the Faroe Islands over the course of four months to defend pilot whales and other species of small cetaceans from the brutal and archaic mass slaughter.

Last weekend's slaughter was the first grind hunt to take place in the more than 80 days that Sea Shepherd has patrolled the islands. The campaign spans the traditionally bloodiest months of the hunt season.



Volunteers needed: Sea Shepherd is seeking additional volunteers to join the team in the Faroe Islands for the last month of campaign. Volunteers please complete and submit the application at Grindstop 2014 On-Shore Crew Application by 10th September at 5pm EST.

Oliver Tickell edits The Ecologist.

More from this author