Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd volunteers woke up to a bag of dead birds tossed on their doorstep and it is now quite clear that the Danish government has thrown their cards on the table in support of cruelty and slaughter.
During the last 85 days, the Sea Shepherd look-outs on land and the Sea Shepherd boats on the water were able to divert back to sea, three large pods of pilot whales, and for 85 days not a single whale or dolphin was slain in a drive slaughter.
However we all knew that eventually the logistics and the geography would allow for a breach for the whalers to seize their opportunity.
Yesterday the six-person team on Sandoy Island at Sandur spotted six boats leaving the harbor. They immediately informed the closest Sea Shepherd boat crew, the nearest being Bastien Boudoire from France and his crew on the Mike Galesi.
A small pod of 33 pilot whales had been spotted by residents of the small island of Skuvoy, not far from the island of Sandoy.
The whales unfortunately had passed very close and there was little time to divert them.
As the Mike Galesi raced to the scene, the Loki and the B.S. Sheen were called in from their patrols off the island of Suduroy.
The Brigitte Bardot was 52 kilometers to the North and hours away.
The Sandoy team made it to the beach before the whalers arrived. Meanwhile the police at Torshaven scrambled to board Royal Danish Navy helicopters to rush to Sandoy. The Danish Navy dispatched high-speed ridged hulled inflatables to Sandoy in what must have been one of the proudest moments in Danish Naval history. I mean what was the battle of Copenhagen where they lost to Nelson, compared to this valiant and strategically important race to support the whale killers of Sandoy?
As men, women and children flocked to the beach, laughing and cheering as if they were at a birthday party, eager to see and smell the spurting blood, the whales were driven to within 200 metres off the beach.
When the Mike Galesi arrived, the Danish Navy ordered the crew to back off. The same order was given to the arriving Lokiand B.S. Sheen. Australian Krystal Keynes in command of the B.S. Sheen did not hear the warning and moved in close to film what was happening with the land crew.
From the time the whales were spotted to the time the whales were driven onto the beach was 25 minutes.
As the land volunteers waded into the water to defend the whales they were tackled and arrested by the police. The boat-crews were chased down by the “brave and illustrious” Danish Navy. In all, fourteen Sea Shepherd volunteers were arrested and transported by Royal Danish Naval helicopters to Torshaven and detained. No report on charges have been released. All Sea Shepherd cameras have been seized.
There is no disgrace in a group of unarmed compassionate conservationists being overtaken and captured by a member nation of NATO. They have the guns, the machines, the money and the men to do it of course. It is in fact an act of profound courage that they waded into the fray in the face of such a frenzy of anger and such a force of arms.
The image taken by Sea Shepherd photographer Nils Greskewitz of three Sea Shepherd volunteers forced to their knees before a Danish Military helicopter will be iconic.
Sea Shepherd is proud of each and every volunteer on the Faroe Islands.
According to the new rules no unauthorized people may approach the killing area.
Section 11, Paragraph 1: that an area also on land may be considered as grind herding area. The magistrate has resolved, that no unauthorized people may come closer than 1 mile from the grind. From land is grind-area where unauthorized persons must stay away. On shore, the police will cordon off the grind area with strips, so that only people, who participate in the catch, may enter. Catching men has to be able to work undisturbed by unauthorized persons.
On the killing beach were numerous children. When Sea Shepherd land crew leader Rosie Kunneke inquired as to why they were there and asked if the Grind Master has authorized that children be allowed on the beach, the police said that the only unauthorized people are Sea Shepherd crew. All others are authorized. The police appeared to not have cordoned off the grind area prior to the arrests.
Apparently in the Faroe Islands, the whalers get to dictate the laws that the police are obliged to enforce.
The confirmed 14 people (8 men and 6 women) arrested are:
8 French, 2 South Africans, 1 Spanish, 1 Italian, 1 Australian and 1 Mexican
Sea Shepherd Boat Crew
1. Bastien Boudoire (French)(Offshore Leader)
2. Jérôme Veegaert (French)
3. Guido Capezzoli (French)
4. Tiphaine Blot (French)
5. Baptiste Brebel (French)
6. Antoine Le Dref (French)
7. Céline Le Dourion (French)
8. Krystal Keynes (Australian)
Sea Shepherd Land Crew
9. Maggie Gschnitzer (Italy)(Sandoy Island Leader)
10. Rorigio Gilkuri (Mexico)
11. Nikki Botha (South Africa)
12. Monnique Rossouw (South Africa)
13. Sergio Toribio (Spain)
14. Alexandra Sellet (France)
The Land and boat crew heard the whales screaming in agony which certainly contradicts the Faroese claim that the slaughter is painless despite even the stress of the drive.
An entire family group of pilot whales was massacred on that beach at Sandur and Denmark has exposed the fact that the Danish government is collaborating with the whalers. Denmark is prohibited by European Union regulations from supporting whaling. This incident gives Sea Shepherd plenty of evidence to push for action from the European Parliament. The Faroes receive massive EU subsidies through Denmark, the only place in Europe subsided by the European Union that does not have to abide by European law because although Denmark is part of the EU, the Faroes claim to be independent of Denmark and thus not part of the EU.
According to the European postal services, the Faroes are indeed a part of Denmark because they will not allow letters addressed to the Faroes unless the country name of Denmark is written on the envelope.
The Faroes are to Denmark what bogus scientific research is to Japan, simply a loophole to get around conservation law.
Many Danes continue to argue that Denmark is not a whaling nation. It appears that the actions of the Danish Navy and the Danish police demonstrate that Denmark is very much a whaling nation.
Last night a bag of dead birds was thrown at the door of one of the houses rented by Sea Shepherd in the Faroe Islands.
The disrespect that this island of dolphin, whale, puffin, and fulmar killers has for marine wildlife is horrendous. When they say that this is all part of their “culture” we should stop and think for a moment just where this word “culture” comes from.
A culture is an environment from which things grow and like cultures of bacteria it is not always a good thing. In fact what is occurring in the Faroese can be viewed as a cult of killing and cruelty.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is dedicated to eradicating such despicable and obscene cults. Unfortunately in today’s world, opposition to cruelty and slaughter is considered criminal in cultures that condone such evils like bull-fighting, dog-fighting, seal-clubbing, dolphin killing and this particular bizarre and odious Faroese activity that they call the Grindadrap which literally translates as whale murder.
The Sea Shepherd volunteers on the Faroes are dedicated and compassionate people who have traveled to these remote islands at the own expense to oppose an evil that should no longer exist on this planet.
Tomorrow more volunteers will travel to the only other place on the planet where such a horrendous slaughter takes place – Taiji, Japan — as the six-month killing season gets underway there.
These are the two most savage places in the world for dolphins and whales and when you consider that of seven billion people in the world, there are less than 60,000 living in these two different places where such agonizing cruelty is inflicted against species that the rest of the world loves and cares for, it can certainly be seen that the cult of pain and death that is the foundation of these two perverse cultures is an aberration and thus a disgrace to the human race. Sea Shepherd is well aware of the fact there are Faroese people who oppose the heinous grind. Now is the time for them to stand up and let their voices be heard to once and for all bury this tradition of bloodlust that stains their nation.