Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Close Call In Faroes

They came from everywhere!
Last Tues.12, a pod of pilot whales was sighted off the southern Faroese island of Suderoy at Tvoroyri. As Faroese headed towards Tvoroyri, the whales moved towards Hvalba, the most northerly of the beaches on the island.
Sea Shepherd's land-based volunteers saw locals with their killing tools heading to Hvalba, as the Faroese police dispatched a helicopter from Torshaven.
A police roadblock prevented SS land crew from following the whalers to the beach (even though whaling beaches are not closed during a grindadrĂ¡p). Some of the SS team managed to reach the beach prior to the roadblock, but were aggressively removed by the police.
Hvalba: not normally shut down...
By then, the Suderoy grindmaster had left with three boats to intercept the whales and begin to push them towards the beach.
Meanwhile SS's vessel Brigitte Bardot arrived, and saw three inflatables and a Naval vessel standing guard.
Shortly after, a Danish frigate entered the bay. The land volunteers saw people swarming in from other locations on the islands, carrying hooks and knives.
Just as BB arrived, the grindadrĂ¡p was called off by the grindmaster, citing bad currents: some disgruntled locals accused him of calling it off because of SS. Whatever the reason, the most important thing was that the potential slaughter was averted.
A year ago to the day, 450 pilot whales were slaughtered at Hvalba. In 2014, 87 volunteers and six boats stood guard for the whales.
No conflict. No killings.

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