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Sea Shepherd boat in police custody

Two Sea Shepherd vessels, the Sam Simon and the Bob Barker are currently berthed at Lerwick harbour - Photo: Ian Leask

SEA SHEPHERD, the radical marine conservationists, are seeking legal advice after one of its rigid inflatable boats (RIB) was taken into police custody in Lerwick on Tuesday.

The small boat of the Sea Shepherd vessel Sam Simon was seized by the authorities in Shetland following a request from Denmark.

Over recent weeks the controversial environmentalists have been involved in disrupting the annual pilot whales drive in the Faroe Islands, the contentious tradition known as the Grind (or grindadráp).

The warrant for the seizure was presented to the captain of the Sam Simon, while she was in Lerwick harbour to refuel.

According to Sea Shepherd the warrant said there were “reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence has been committed under the law of Denmark.”

In a press statement on Wednesday morning the group added that it was understood that the confiscation related to the small boat’s involvement in the group’s actions at Sandavágur on 12 August, where 61 pilot whales were killed as part of the grindadráp.

Chief executive of Sea Shepherd Global, captain Alex Cornelissen, said: “On the one hand, the government of Denmark refuses to abide by EU laws that protect cetaceans.

“On the other, Denmark is abusing its EU position and resources to try to silence Sea Shepherd’s opposition to the grindadráp.

“Denmark’s ongoing support of the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands is a national shame.”

 A spokeswoman for Crown Office confirmed that they had executed a request from the Faroese authorities.

“The Crown received a letter of request from the Faroese authorities, and subsequently sought a warrant which has now been executed by Police Scotland. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage,” she said.