Last year 450 white-sided dolphins fell to the cruel knives of these cetacean-slaughtering thugs. Fortunately the hundreds spotted today remain safe at sea.
Three volunteer members of Sea Shepherd's pilot whale and small cetacean defense campaign 'Operation GrindStop 2014' were arrested this week just outside the Faroese capital of Torshavn.
Their crime? "Harrassing dolphins". That is, guiding a pod of hundreds of officially protected Atlantic white-sided dolphins away from the killing shores of the Faroe Islands where the cetacean massacre known as the 'grindadrap' or 'grind' is in full swing.
The Danish Naval vessel chased, boarded and seized Sea Shepherd's UK-registered boat, the Spitfire, and Danish Police on board arrested its three crewmembers - Jessie Treverton of the UK and Celine Le Diouron and Marion Selighini, both from France.
But not before the dolphins veered off their course towards the coast, and headed out to sea - safe from the slaughter.
The majesty of Faroese law
It is against Faroese law to interfere with the grind, however no grind had been called when Sea Shepherd prevented the dolphins from reaching shore. Moreover, white-sided dolphins are a protected species and are not to be killed.
The Danish Police, however, have charged the Sea Shepherd volunteers with failure to report the dolphin sightings to the grind master and police - and with "harassing dolphins".
Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson responded: "Apparently in the Faroe Islands it is perfectly legal to kill a protected species, but it is illegal to push them back out to sea in order to keep them from harm's way because that is considered 'harassment'.
"The good news is, however, that a pod of hundreds of white-sided dolphins were successfully 'harassed' away from the vicious knives of the whalers.
"Last year, in August 2013, 450 white-sided dolphins fell to the cruel knives of these cetacean-slaughtering thugs. Fortunately the hundreds spotted today remain safe at sea."
"These three Sea Shepherd women can proudly say that they successfully ‘harassed' the dolphins for the purpose of saving their lives."
Deported and forbidden to return for a year
Following a court appearance the Sea Shepherd volunteers were yesterday ordered to be deported from the Faroe Islands, and have been forbidden to return to the Faroes for at least one year. The Spitfire has also been released.
The Spitfire is the fourth vessel seized by the Danish Navy in the Faroe Islands during Operation GrindStop 2014, as Sea Shepherd's three small boats - the Loki, the Mike Galesi and the B.S. Sheen (sponsored by actor Charlie Sheen) were seized on August 30th. They are being held as evidence awaiting the trial of eight Sea Shepherd crew from those boats on 25th September.
Along with the small boat crew, 6 members of Sea Shepherd's onshore team were also arrested for attempting to prevent the brutal slaughter of a pod of 33 pilot whales. They have now been convicted on the following charges and fined:
- Disturbing public order. Verdict: All 6 guilty
- Hindering the hunt of pilot whales: Verdict: All 6 guilty
- Ignoring police orders to leave the area. Verdict: 3 guilty (Sergio, Rodrigio and Alexandra) and 3 not guilty (Nikki, Maggie and Monique who were in the water)
There are two Sea Shepherd vessels currently operating in the Faroes - the Spitfire, and the Clementine, from France. Thor had to be removed from the water earlier today, as foreign vessels can only be in Faroese waters for a maximum of three months.
Denmark defies EU law
Despite being an anti-whaling member nation of the European Union, subject to laws prohibiting the slaughter of cetaceans, Denmark continues to show its support and even collaboration with the Faroese whalers to kill small cetaceans.
Sea Shepherd has led the opposition to the mass slaughter of cetaceans in the Faroe Islands since the 1980s. Operation GrindStop 2014 is Sea Shepherd's largest Faroese campaign to date, and a multi-national team of Sea Shepherd volunteers has been patrolling land and sea in the islands since mid-June.
Sea Shepherd will remain in the Faroes until the beginning of October. The campaign spans the typically bloodiest months of the grindadrap hunt season, in an effort to save as many lives as possible.
"Though three volunteers have been arrested and the Danish Navy has once again acted in defense of the brutal grind by seizing one of our boats, Sea Shepherd considers this a victory", said Lamya Essemlali, President of Sea Shepherd France and GrindStop 2014 Offshore Leader.
Hundreds of dolphins are still swimming safely as a family because of our brave volunteers, and Sea Shepherd will continue to act in defense of its clients"
Action: Sea Shepherd encourages its supporters worldwide - and especially citizens of Europe - to contact the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask them to drop the charges in the case of those arrested for trying to save 33 pilot whales on 30th August. They are due to apepar in court on 25th September.
Be sure to ask them why, as a member of the anti-whaling European Union, they are aiding and abetting the Faroese in killing whales and how they intend to deport Europeans from Europe for defending whales in accordance with European regulations that prohibit whaling.
Emails can be sent to the Danish Foreign Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the USA: Sea Shepherd also encourages supporters in the United States to contact the Danish Embassy and consulates and ask that Denmark drop the charges, associated with such small fines, against our peaceful volunteers. Please contact:
The Embassy of Denmark
3200 Whitehaven Street NW
Washington DC 20008-3683
Phone: (202) 234-4300
Elsewhere: For a list of Danish embassies and consulates around the world, please visit: Embassies of Denmark.