A Danish Navy warship called at Lerwick Harbour yesterday afternoon to take charge of the Sea Shepherd inflatable which was seized by police earlier in the week.
The small boat Echo was picked up the HDMS Knud Rasmussen at around 3pm and less than half an hour later the warship was on her way out of the harbour again.
The inflatable was understood to be involved in the defence of 61 pilot whales in Faroe on 22nd August. A grindadráp (whale killing operation) had been taking place at Sandavágur beach in Faroe at the time.
The Echo was seized from the Dutch-registered Sea Shepherd ship Sam Simon at Lerwick on Tuesday. The seizure was at the request of the Danish authorities, in response to a letter of request issued by the Faroese chief of police.
Yesterday, Scottish police informed Sea Shepherd’s lawyers that the Echo would be held for a week, giving the lawyers time to appeal the seizure.
The organisation was later advised that Danish authorities had fast-tracked extradition proceedings in an effort to obtain the small boat.
A QC representing Sea Shepherd then lodged a “Bill Of Suspension” to block the extradition of the small boat. The High Court of Judiciary issued a warrant granting the suspension at 3.43pm but the small boat was already on board the Knud Rasmussen, on her way to Faroe.
According to Sea Shephered the Scottish authorities made no effort to retrieve the Echo from the naval vessel.
Captain Alex Cornelissen said: “It seems that there is no level that Denmark won’t stoop to in order to continue its support of the pilot whale slaughter in the Faroe Islands.
“However, if the Danish government thinks that by confiscating the Echo they will stop Sea Shepherd, they are very sadly mistaken.”
Sea Shepherd has been leading opposition to what it terms the mass slaughter of cetaceans in Faroe since the early 1980s.
“Operation Sleppid Grindini” was Sea Shepherd’s sixth Faroe pilot whale defence campaign, and was marked by the organisation’s strongest at-sea presence in the region to date.