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Seizure ‘will not stop us’

Sam Simon ship manager Sonja Hyppaenen - Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

RADICAL marine conservationists Sea Shepherd insist having a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) seized by police in Lerwick this week won’t deter its efforts to stop the killing of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands.

A small boat from their vessel Sam Simon was taken into police custody on Tuesday at the request of Faroese authorities.

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The Sea Shepherd ship as well as their vessel Bob Barker are docked in Lerwick to refuel and restock supplies.

The two ships are due to leave Lerwick to return to the Faroe Islands at midday on Thursday, but rough weather may delay their departure.

The controversial environmentalists had been in the Faroe Islands in their long-running attempt to disrupt its annual pilot whale drive in the region – the contentious tradition known as the Grind, or grindadráp.

Speaking on board the Sam Simon on Thursday morning, ship manager Sonja Hyppänen said the seizure would have no real effect on Sea Shepherd’s efforts in Faroe.

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“What happened is that the small boat is now out of our hands, but that’s not going to stop us,” Hyppänen said.

“The Faroese are quite satisfied with themselves at the moment. They think that by taking a RIB away from us then that will stop us getting back there, but that’s not going to happen.”

Police officers speaking to the crew of Sam Simon on Tuesday after the RIB was seized - Photo: Iraultza Darias/Sea Shepherd Global.

Recalling what happened on Tuesday, the ship manager said that the small boat had been taken to a local workshop for a service.

The police then attended the company’s premises to seize the RIB before issuing a warrant to the Sea Shepherd crew at Lerwick harbour.

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“We definitely did not expect the Faroese to reach us here,” she added.

“But then again, it’s kind of continuing the harassment of us up there, stopping us from protesting. But I was not expecting to see the police – especially the Scottish police.

“This has always been a really good, friendly port for us. We love coming here. And of course, the local police are just doing their job. It was done really professionally, and we highly appreciate that.”

Police Scotland meanwhile confirmed on Wednesday that the seizure took place at the request of authorities in Faroe.

They said: “On Tuesday 1 September 2015, police in Lerwick executed a warrant to seize an inflatable RIB under the request of the Faroese authorities.

“The vessel has been seized and is being held as per the request of the Faroese authorities.”

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