Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sea Shepherd 1 Faroe Islands/Denmark's Navy 0

Greetings again everyone. Good new out of the Faroe Islands this morning. For the first time since Sea Shepherd arrived in the Faroe Islands, pilot whales were spotted. Due to nasty weather, the Faroese did not start a grind as they believed that the whales would remain in the fjord overnight. Well Sea Shepherd was not going to allow that, even in terrible weather. The whales were apparently spotted during the night by Sea Shepherd's land crew and the conservation group acted quickly to get their boats in the water and drive the whales back out to sea. Sea Shepherd plans to continue to keep an eye out for these or any other whales that may be approaching the Faroe Islands and steer them clear of what would be a certain death.

Needless to say the Faroese people are probably none to happy about this situation. This would have been the first grind to take place since May. The first battle of Sea Shepherd's Operation has gone to the conservationists. The Danish Navy paid a visit to the Sea Shepherd camp during the night, but no arrests were made as Sea Shepherd had not broken any laws. While it is illegal to interfere with a grind in progress, no grind had been called by the local government officials. Here are two bits of Faroese law regarding the grind....

When the message of a whale drive is communicated, the district administrator can designate a particular area, whether on land, in the sea or in the air, as a whaling area. In this connection the district administrator can decide who is permitted to be in the area and he can order vessels, aircraft or people to leave the area immediately, regardless of whether or not they are participating in the whale drive.

In addition, the district administrator can at any time cordon off an area as a whaling area, whether on land, at sea or in the air and order anyone to refrain from entering the said area. It is not permitted to impede any drive or kill for which the district administrator has given permission in accordance with §§ 8 and 9.

So there it is in black and white. No grind was called, so now laws were broken. Had a grind been called, this situation would certainly be different, but the Faroese wanted to wait for the weather to clear before engaging in their mass slaughter. The beaches are blue in the Faroe Islands for another day thanks to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society!

Photo: Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!

Yesterday the Sea Shepherd boat “Thor” successfully persuaded a pod of pilot whales to return to sea, foiling plans by the Grind Master at Klaksvik, Karl Johansen to call for a Grind (a slaughter) as soon as the weather cleared.

It was a daring venture in nasty weather and the “Thor” and the “Mike Galesi” and their crews ventured miles offshore in order to secure the safety of the whales.

After the boats returned from their mission and just after midnight the Danish Navy paid a visit to where campaign leader Lamya Essemlali was staying with the boat Mike Galesi. They were looking for the “Thor.”

Karl Johansen had reported “Thor” as well as SSCS for violating the “Faroese Law of Whaling”  Specifically he is quoted as saying that nobody is allowed to chase a group of pilot whales without any permission from the local sheriff or local whaling foreman.
 
This is not however what the law says. In previewing the complete Grinakunngerd (Executive Order on the Pilot Whale Drive) the part that is relevant reads as follows:
 
ON THE DRIVING AND KILLING OF PILOT WHALES
Driving pilot whales § 8
 
The district administrator decides in consultation with whaling foremen from the different whaling bays and the boat which has first sighted the whales, which way the whales shall be driven. The whales must be driven to an authorized whale bay in accordance with § 13. Whaling foremen must follow the orders of the district administrator in accordance with §§ 8-12.
 
2) The most suitable whaling bay shall be chosen in relation to the size of the school of whales, as well as with regard to prevailing conditions and currents. It is not permitted to drive whales unless it is under the supervision of district administrators and/or whaling foremen.
 
 
(The first obvious flaw with Karl Johansen argument is that there was (according to his own words) no grind or drive called. He was just observing the whales until a proper time and weather permitted a drive. He never called for a grind.
 
The second flaw is with the definition of a “drive” there is no definition provide by the law but  the word “drive” used  in the context of the Executive Order contemplates a “drive” as a grind or a push to a killing beach.  There is no conceivable argument  to made that Thor was “driving” whales to a killing beach.
 
If a grind had been actually called then Thor and SSCS would have been in violation of Section 11)
 
§ 11
When the message of a whale drive is communicated, the district administrator can designate a particular area, whether on land, in the sea or in the air, as a whaling area. In this connection the district administrator can decide who is permitted to be in the area and he can order vessels, aircraft or people to leave the area immediately, regardless of whether or not they are participating in the whale drive.

2) In addition, the district administrator can at any time cordon off an area as a whaling area, whether on land, at sea or in the air and order anyone to refrain from entering the said area. It is not permitted to impede any drive or kill for which the district administrator has given permission in accordance with §§ 8 and 9.

It is not the intent of Sea Shepherd volunteers to violate Faroese law despite the fact that the law is heavily weighed in favor of the killers.

Despite the fact that Johansen has accused Sea Shepherd of violating the law, it is clear from the reading of the law that Sea Shepherd remained in compliance with the law.

The Sea Shepherd crews are feeling very satisfied knowing that this particular pod was spared a brutal extermination at the hands of the whalers.

They ventured where others feared to go and they were rewarded with lives saved.

Sea Shepherd has for years taken to heart the sentiments expressed by American poet Walt Whitman when he wrote the following in Passage to India.

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

Photo: The pod of whales saved by Sea Shepherd yesterday
Paul Watson's photo.

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