Sea Shepherd Volunteers and Small Boat Have Been Released Tonight; Volunteers Face Deportation from the Faroes by Denmark

Sea Shepherd crew of the Spitfire: Celine Le Diouron and Marion Selighini, both from France, and Jessie Treverton of the UK.  Photo: Barbara VeigaSea Shepherd crew of the Spitfire: Celine Le Diouron and Marion Selighini, both from France, and Jessie Treverton of the UK. Photo: Barbara VeigaThree volunteer members of Sea Shepherd’s pilot whale and small cetacean defense campaign Operation GrindStop 2014 were arrested today just outside the Faroese capital of Torshavn for protecting a large pod of hundreds of Atlantic white-sided dolphins, preventing them from approaching the dangerous killing shores of the Faroe Islands.

The Danish Navy chased, boarded and seized Sea Shepherd’s UK-registered boat, the Spitfire, and arrested its three crewmembers — Jessie Treverton of the UK and Celine Le Diouron and Marion Selighini, both from France.

Though it is against Faroese law to interfere with the mass cetacean slaughter known as the “grindadrap” or “grind,” no grind had been called when Sea Shepherd prevented the dolphins from reaching shore. Moreover, white-sided dolphins are a protected species and are not to be killed. The Danish Police, however, have charged the Sea Shepherd volunteers with failure to report the dolphin sightings to the grind master and police and, ironically, with “harassing dolphins.”

Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson responded, “Apparently in the Faroe Islands it is perfectly legal to kill a protected species, but it is illegal to push them back out to sea in order to keep them from harm’s way because that is considered ‘harassment.’ So these three Sea Shepherd women can proudly say that they successfully ‘harassed’ the dolphins for the purpose of saving their lives.”

“The good news is, however, that a pod of hundreds of white-sided dolphins were successfully ‘harassed’ away from the vicious knives of the whalers. Last year, in August 2013, 450 white-sided dolphins fell to the cruel knives of these cetacean-slaughtering thugs. Fortunately the hundreds spotted today remain safe at sea,” added Captain Watson.

Sea Shepherd currently has an attorney involved. The crew and the Spitfire were released late this evening in the Faroes. They were escorted to the Spitfire and permitted to leave. The crew is to appear in court tomorrow at 2 pm Faroes time. However, the volunteers face deportation from the Faroe Islands by Denmark, and if deported, would not be allowed to return to the Faroes for at least one year.

Despite being an anti-whaling member nation of the European Union, subject to laws prohibiting the slaughter of cetaceans, Denmark continues to show its support and even collaboration with the Faroese whalers to kill small cetaceans.

The Danish Navy chases Sea Shepherd UK's Spitfire. Photo: Sea ShepherdThe Danish Navy chases Sea Shepherd UK's Spitfire.
Photo: Sea Shepherd
The Spitfire is the fourth vessel seized by the Danish Navy in the Faroe Islands during Operation GrindStop 2014, as Sea Shepherd’s three small boats — the Loki, the Mike Galesi and the B.S. Sheen (sponsored by actor Charlie Sheen) were seized on August 30th. They are being held as evidence awaiting the trial of eight Sea Shepherd crew from those boats. Along with the small boat crew, 6 members of Sea Shepherd’s onshore team were also arrested for attempting to prevent the brutal slaughter of a pod of 33 pilot whales on August 30.

“Though three volunteers have been arrested and the Danish Navy has once again acted in defense of the brutal grind by seizing one of our boats, Sea Shepherd considers this a victory. Hundreds of dolphins are still swimming safely as a family because of our brave volunteers, and Sea Shepherd will continue to act in defense of its clients,” said Lamya Essemlali, President of Sea Shepherd France and GrindStop 2014 Offshore Leader.

There are two Sea Shepherd vessels currently operating in the Faroes — the Spitfire, and the Clementine, from France. Thor had to be removed from the water earlier today, as foreign vessels can only be in Faroese waters for a maximum of three months.

Sea Shepherd has led the opposition to the mass slaughter of cetaceans in the Faroe Islands since the 1980s. Operation GrindStop 2014 is Sea Shepherd’s largest Faroese campaign to date, and a multi-national team of Sea Shepherd volunteers has been patrolling land and sea in the islands since mid-June. Sea Shepherd will remain in the Faroes until the beginning of October. The campaign spans the typically bloodiest months of the grindadrap hunt season, in an effort to save as many lives as possible.

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