Anti-whaling group to make frequent visits to isles during Faroese campaign

, by , in Fishing & Sea

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson (left) and Locky MacLean, captain of the Brigitte Bardot, in Lerwick today.

Direct action protest group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is planning to make frequent returns to Shetland over the next two months during its campaign against the annual slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands.

Its flagship vessel Steve Irwin has been at Holmsgarth Pier since Tuesday and was joined last night by the 35-metre vessel Brigitte Bardot. The crews of both boats are making final preparations in Lerwick and are due to depart later on Friday to begin the campaign against the traditional Faroese “Grind”, which consists of locals corralling pods of migrating pilot whales into shallow coves as they travel in family groups past the islands.The striking Brigitte Bardot, which has been given a sleek silver metallic makeover, was built in the mid 1990s for the purpose of going around the world and was originally called the Cable and Wireless Adventurer. Her powerful engines give a maximum speed of 25 knots and she accomplished a new record by circumnavigating the world in just under 75 days in July 1998.

The SSCS acquired the Australian-flagged vessel so it could outrun Japanese harpoon ships in its campaign in Southern Antarctica last winter, initially renaming it Gojira (Japanese for “Godzilla”) before being forced by a “cease and desist” order to change it again.

Captain Locky MacLean, born in France, brought up in Canada, and with family roots in Mull, told The Shetland Times the vessel was effectively involved in back-to-back, year-round campaigning between Antarctica, the Mediterranean and Faroe. Earlier this year she was in Libyan waters in the Mediterranean trying to deter poachers looking to illegally catch endangered bluefin tuna.

MacLean said the war in Libya presented an opportunity for poachers, but the SSCS had been cooperating with NATO warships in the area and providing data and information to EU fisheries officials. He said NATO workers had been “really friendly”.

The Brigitte Bardot’s nine crew, plus SSCS founder and captain of the Steve Irwin Paul Watson, arrived in Shetland on Thursday evening after a short two-day voyage up the west coast of Britain from Jersey. MacLean said he had enjoyed sampling single malt whisky in Captain Flint’s until the early hours of Friday. He said Shetland “feels like home” having been brought up in a small island.

It is not the first time SSCS volunteers have been in the isles either, having been here on a stealth boat in 2010. “Now we’re just doing it with our own ships,” he said, adding that with the campaign running until September (when the two vessels will return to the Antarctic), Shetlanders could expect to see the Steve Irwin and Brigitte Bardot making regular “pit stops” in Lerwick for the remainder of the summer.

21 comments

  1. Robert Smith

    Will Shetland welcome these terrorists when they turn their attentions to whitefish trawlers?
    Because, rest assured, they’re in their sights as well.
    Vive le France. ;)

  2. Ann Miller

    Great news that Sea Shepherd are tackling the barbaric practices of the Faroe islanders. SS have done fantastic work protecting whales in the Southern Oceans from Japanese trawlers and drawing attention to the wholesale slaughter of dolphins in Japan. Shetland islanders, including responsible fishermen, have nothing to fear from Sea Shepherd and should welcome them with open arms.

  3. Frimund Hansen

    Stop Poul Watson!!!!
    You are targettig the wrong ones. The one to two houndred pilot whales that the faroese are killing an eating yearly is of no treath to the population of the whales.
    The biggest treath comes from the big big polloution of the seas comming from the industrial countries.

  4. Phil Braithwaite, NZ

    Robert,
    They’re NOT terrorists – they’re merely making a stand for ALL of us, against those who exploit marine resources to excess or with brutality.
    If your whitefish trawlers are working to sustainable quotas, they should have no worries. It’s the bullies of this world (the Japanese) or those living in the outdated past using barbaric methods of slaughter (the Faroese) who should be worried!

  5. John Helms

    Paul Watson says (Shetland Times, 13 July) that the Faroese do not eat the pilot whales they harvest. He knows this is false because he also argues that the meat and blubber is contaminated with pollutants and is therefore unsafe to eat. And he knows that the Faroese continue to eat the meat and blubber in spite of the health warnings. He is correct when he says that the pilot whale harvest has tremendous cultural significance to the Faroese people, who have engaged in it for about 500 years, but the fact is that the meat and blubber is also an important part of the Faroese diet. Pilot whales are not endangered, and the Faroese grind is no more disturbing than what goes on at even the most reputable cattle slaughterhouses every day around the world.

  6. ian tinkler

    I invite anyone om Shetland to welcome and help, TheSea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). Please post on this website.

    Ian Tinkler. BDS (ULond). Surgeon Lieutenant Commander (D) RNR rtd
    Dental surgeon
    90 St Olaf st
    Lerwick
    Shetland
    To. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS)
    Sir,
    As a dental surgeon practicing on Shetland at above address I would be honored
    to treat any crew of The Steve Irwin or Brigitte Bardot at the above address.
    (Tele 01595 695769). Normal private fees replaced with NHS fees (cost covering
    only) for the duration of their ongoing campaign in Shetland.
    Yours faithfully
    Ian Tinkler

  7. Colin Hunter

    Don’t see why any right minded person should welcome them anyway, I most certainly don’t! The words Fart and Space-suit spring to mind! They are nothing short of criminals in disguise and will stop at nothing to attain noteriety and fame, or should that be infamy? Remember that it was people such as these who campaigned against Sullom Voe becoming a refinery and landed Shetland with some of the highest fuel prices in the world. And you think we should welcome them?????? I urge all the Shetland based fuel suppliers to boycot these people. they are no better than the Somali pirates who terrorise shipping off the horn of Africa.

  8. Gordon Harmer

    Paul Watson has said “We’re not a protest organization, we’re a policing organization,” what right does he and his followers have to police the seas.
    I thought to police you needed to be a body of persons making up such a department, trained in methods of law enforcement and crime prevention and detection and authorized to maintain the peace, safety, and order of the community.
    He is not authorized to police anywhere nor does he conduct his so called policing safely or in a manner which maintains the peace. He has no mandate to police the seas he has no right to act as the public’s conscience.
    This man and his motley crew ram fishermen’s boats and cut their fishing gear putting peoples lives in danger these are not the actions of the police but they are the actions of a pirate. Protest by all means make your views known through publicity, not piracy.

  9. Robert Smith

    Phil,
    These scum-bags are NOT making a stand for me. Their constant lies and propaganda, as highlighted above, reveal their utter untrustworthyness.
    They are nasty anti-democratic terrorists that should be removed from the sea.

  10. suzzi Holden

    I will always support the amazing Sea Shepherd and the work they do to protect the seas from the greed of the world and the way humankind is killing the sea and its wild life.
    I supported them in the 1990s when in Shetland.

  11. Dave Nigels

    I would have just a little bit of respect if his press statements and website wasn’t full of lies. If you make up facts and statistics surely you can’t have much confidence in the truth.

  12. Evelyn Capps

    Does anyone see any other group out “policing the oceans” for illegal/overfishing? We need activists to keep us awake to what’s going on in our world. It’s our duty to protect it and obviously we all cannot be on the front lines. So somebody has to take on the responsibility. Kudos to the SSS! I remember the stealth boat when I was in Shetland in 2010.

  13. Dennis

    To see people who write negative her, is the best example, that the Sea Shepherds are doing are great job!
    They are the only ones who really make a differnce in the seas, and they are worth to support.
    Thanks Shetland for giving those ships a port :)

  14. Robert Smith

    Suzzi, Evelyn, Dennis,
    I would support the SS if what you say is correct. It is not. These terrorists rely on lies and propaganda to garner support from the unwary.
    No-one is “killing the seas”, “overfishing” is over-stated to the point of being a myth.
    They are taking advantage of your kind hearted concern and insulting your trust by lying through their teeth.

  15. David Palmer

    @Phil Braithwaite

    “If your whitefish trawlers are working to sustainable quotas, they should have no worries. It’s the bullies of this world (the Japanese) or those living in the outdated past using barbaric methods of slaughter (the Faroese) who should be worried!”

    The Japanese and Faroe Islanders are working to sustainable quotas. And as to barbaric, you mean scooping large groups fish up into nets and pulling them out of the water to die from lack of oxygen over a 4 or 5 minute period of time, basically they drown in the air, isn’t barbaric?

    Come on Phil tell us the truth it has nothing to do with suatinablity or barbaric practices, it is your own bias for whales because they are just so different and cuter than fish. Fish aren’t cute so OK to kill them, whales are cute so not OK to kill them.

  16. Ian Tinkler

    To make a point, when a people, for no other reason, than tradition, wantonly embark on killing on a mass scale, in an entirely brutal and inhuman way, purely for self gratification and sadistic fun, there can be no justification or excuse. What is and has “Cute” got to do with this David Palmer? . If slaughtermen in abatoirs behaved this way they would be inprisoned. This is just blood lust and mass sadism. A type of mass hysteria, the most very basic form of human depravity, no more than that. All decent humanity must protest in any peaceful way they can

  17. Robert Smith

    David,
    Whitefish trawlers are indeed worried about fishing “sustainably”. They are worried because they want a future for their industry and are taking the necessary measures to ensure sustainablity. They are, rightly, worried by the consequences of stepping out of line brought by the legal, accountable authorities.

    They should not be “worried” about the actions of an un-democratic, wholly unaccountable band of thugs operating outside the law.
    That is, by definition, terrorism.

  18. Pete Sandford

    @Gordon Harmer

    You said: “what right does he and his followers have to police the seas.”
    They have every right!

    In 1979 and 1980, Sea Shepherd drew international attention when it rammed and destroyed the pirate whaling ship, Sierra. The Sierra had violated International Whaling Commission regulations for over ten years without any government intervention. Operating under the tight budget of a nonprofit organization, Sea Shepherd succeeded when wealthy and powerful governments failed to enforce international laws.

    How can a non-profit organization legally interfere with fishing and sink pirate whaling ships? Sea Shepherd operates under the United Nations World Charter for Nature, which permits enforcement by individuals and NGO’s.

    In 1995, a Canadian court acquitted Captain Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd, of criminal charges when the court agreed his intervention was legal. Although Captain Watson has been arrested, he has never been convicted of a crime because, he says, “I don’t break laws, I uphold them.”

  19. Hello, our nearest neighbours!

    Have Shetlanders ever killed whales back in the day?

    …just a curious faroese man asking :-)

  20. Ah, google is good sometimes…have just read about your whaling past :-)

  21. David Palmer

    @Pete Sanford
    Either you are miss informed or you are lying.

    Paul Watson was acquitted of one charge but convicted of a second felony charge. And the acquittal was not based on his actions being legal it was based on his claim of ‘Colour of Right’.

    You may want to look up ‘Colour of Right’. In Canada it means the defendant (Watson) claims he MISTAKENLY believed his actions were legal. So Watson’s defense was that what he did WASN’T legal but he had a reasonable and real belief that it was legal. So actually Watson, his attorney and the court all agreed that what he did was illegal but that he thought it was legal.

    Since 1995 Watson and the SSCS have know that their claim of legality under the UNWCfN is a lie but they keep repeating that it is legal and many people keep believing them.

    @Robert Smith
    I didn’t say anything about the sustainability of the whitefish industry, I claimed that it was barbaric.

    And the Japan, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, etc. also worry about the sustainability of their legal whaling activities.

    @Ian Tinkler
    “…purely for self gratification and sadistic fun…”
    And what does this have to do with the Faroe Islands whaling? They do it in part to supply food.

    “What is and has “Cute” got to do with this David Palmer?”
    Well Ian, there must be some reason you are against the Faroe Islands hunt of pilot whales but not against the Shetlands whitefish hunt. Many people have this type hypocritical position because they feel some animals are too cute to hunt. I put it forward as a possibility in your case. If not the cute issue than what is your reason for agreeing with killing some animals but not others?