Volunteers from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s pilot whale defense campaign Operation GrindStop 2014 appeared before a court in the Faroe Islands on Monday following their recent arrest in conjunction with trying to prevent the murder of pilot whales.
These volunteer crewmembers – many of whom are European citizens – have been found guilty of defending the whales, while Denmark has acted in blatant defiance of European Union regulations by defending the slaughter of whales. Sea Shepherd has issued a statement pertaining to the verdicts and supporter and actor Martin Sheen is speaking out.
The six members of Sea Shepherd’s onshore team were among a total of 14 volunteers arrested on August 30 on the Faroese island of Sandoy for attempting to protect 33 pilot whales from the brutal mass slaughter known as “grindadrap” or the “grind.” The onshore crewmembers entered the water, banging poles, in an attempt to lead the pilot whales back out to sea and out of danger, but as the pod was driven in quickly from close to shore, there was little time to prevent the slaughter.
The Royal Danish Navy arrested Sea Shepherd’s offshore crew and seized three of their small boats – the Loki, the Mike Galesi, and the B.S. Sheen (sponsored by actor Charlie Sheen). Despite being an anti-whaling EU member nation, Denmark acted in collaboration with the whalers, enabling 33 whales to be killed.
The onshore crewmembers face small fines as well as possible deportation from the Faroes by Denmark. The court date for the eight members of the offshore crew has been scheduled for September 25, and Sea Shepherd’s three small boats will be held “as evidence” until that time.
Sea Shepherd supporter actor Martin Sheen had this to say about the recent events in the Faroes:
“What is happening in the Faroe Islands is outrageous. Why is Denmark, an anti-whaling EU member nation, supporting the killing of whales with their Navy?”
“The brave men and women standing up against the slaughter of whales in the Danish Faroe Islands should be commended for their selfless dedication and courage.”
Statement from Sea Shepherd abouttoday’s verdict from the Faroese court re: the intervention of our Operation GrindStop 2014 crew members in a grind:
“Sea Shepherd is very proud that the six brave crew members who intervened to try to stop the grind on Saturday, August 30 in the Faroe Islands have been found guilty of trying to protect pilot whales. Our mission is to defend marine wildlife and their habitats and we commend these individuals for attempting to stand between the killers and the whales to try to save lives and to bring worldwide attention to these archaic and cruel hunts.
Last year, nearly 1,200 defenseless cetaceans were mercilessly killed in grinds when Sea Shepherd was not in the Faroes. This year, the death toll has been 51 — 33 in a grind, 5 who beached themselves, and 13 early in the season who were killed prior to Sea Shepherd arriving on the scene. While every life taken is a loss to our oceans, there is no denying that the presence of Operation GrindStop 2014 is making a positive difference in the lives of our clients, and that is always our number one goal.
The Faroese court is asking for fines (approximately $1,200 for all six individuals of the land team; eight members of the boat team will be sentenced September 25) and a request for deportation has been sent to Denmark. The fines will not be paid because our crewmembers will not acknowledge that attempting to prevent murder is a crime. Four of the six volunteers charged were already slated to leave the Faroes on a specific date prior to this incident, so now just two remain who could be deported — Maggie Gschnitzer of Italy and Sergio Toribio of Spain. We are eager to see how Denmark will attempt to deport Europeans from Europe.
We encourage our supporters worldwide — and especially citizens of Europe — to contact the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask them to drop the charges in this case. 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 email@example.com.”
Sea Shepherd also encourages our 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.
Source: Sea Shepherd Australia
Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.