Sea Shepherd boat seized in Scotland after attempting to break up whale killings

The MY Sam Simon of the Sea Shepherd fleet

Authorities seized a smaller boat from the MY Sam Simon (seen above). Photo: Wiki Commons

The marine activist non-profit Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was dealt a blow yesterday in a mission to protest international whale killings when Scottish government officials seized a small boat of the MY Sam Simon fleet at the request of the Danish government.

The boat was seized for its involvement in attempting to protect 61 pilot whales in the annual whale killing on the beach of Sandavágur in the Faroe Islands on Aug. 12.

While the slaughter of cetaceans (dolphins, whales, porpoises) is outlawed throughout the European Union, including Denmark, under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, the Danish government has allowed the highly controversial whale slaughters (known as the grindadráp, in Faroese) to continue under the Faroese Pilot Whaling Act.

That same Pilot Whale Act is what allowed for the seizure of the Sea Shepherd’s boat.

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"On the one hand, the government of Denmark refuses to abide by European Union laws that protect cetaceans,” CEO of Sea Shepherd Global, Captain Alex Cornelissen, stated in regards to the seizure. “On the other, Denmark is abusing its EU position and resources to try to silence Sea Shepherd's opposition to the grindadráp. Denmark's ongoing support of the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands is a national shame."

While Sea Shepherd is challenging the legality of the Pilot Whale Act in court, more bad news came in the wake of the boat’s seizure: Five of the Sea Shepherd volunteers who helped in the Aug. 12 protest were found guilty of breaking the Pilot Whale Act, and face deportation. Fourteen Sea Shepherd volunteers have been arrested in the Faroe Islands this year for protesting whale slaughters.

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