ANTI-whaling campaigners are back on their way to neighbouring Faroe following a short breather in Lerwick harbour overnight from Thursday to Friday.
Sea Shepherd, the controversial marine conservation organisation, is trying to disrupt this year’s pilot whales drives, known as the Grind.
The mass killing of pilot wales in Faroe has been widely condemned on social media by local people here in Shetland.
The Sam Simon, named after the late Simpsons creator who donated £1 million to buy the vessel, came into Lerwick harbour on Thursday afternoon to stock supplies.
The vessel with more than 20 international activists on board had to come back to Shetland to buy petrol for their inflatables after being prevented from doing so in Faroe.
Skipper of the vessel, Lockhart Maclean, said the Faroese authorities, supported by the Danish Navy, had so far arrested six Sea Shepherd activists.
He added that a new parliamentary act, passed recently, had made it easy for Faroese police to charge the group’s activists interfering with the whaling.
Meanwhile the latest photos and footage distributed on social media have sparked off some heated exchanges locally.
Lerwick man Davie Gardner described the practice as “abhorrent and diabolical”.
“How can this be justified? Don’t give us the old one about ‘it’s their culture’ or ‘at least they eat them’, because we all know it’s nothing to do with that.
“Anything we can do to help highlight this to hopefully get it stopped once and for all,” he said.
The practice of driving pilot whales ashore (caaing whales) was widespread in Shetland until early last century.
The Faroese have always insisted that whale drives are part of local traditions and are regulated by the government.
Michelle Mossfield of Sea Shepherd said the group has managed to bring a lot of international attention to the slaughter of whales and dolphins.
“Anecdotally, we have had many encounters in which local Faroese have expressed their support for Sea Shepherd.
“It’s a positive sign that indicates progress, and gives us hope for change. But of course, until the slaughter is ended, our work won’t be complete,” she said.
Warning: The footage below – made available by Sea Shepherd – shows the killing of around 100 pilot whales at Bour on Thursday and is very graphic.
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