Anti-whaling activists barred from Faroe islands

2015-08-16 11:39
Sea Shepherd's small boat towing a convoy of liferafts from the Nigerian-flagged boat Thunder following its sinking in the waters of Sao Tome and Principe. (Jeff Wirth, AFP)

Sea Shepherd's small boat towing a convoy of liferafts from the Nigerian-flagged boat Thunder following its sinking in the waters of Sao Tome and Principe. (Jeff Wirth, AFP)

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Stockholm - Five activists from the militant Sea Shepherd conservation group have been ordered to leave the Faroe Islands after they tried to disrupt a traditional whale hunt in the autonomous Danish province, police said.

Four were expelled on Friday, and a fifth left on Saturday, said police spokesperson Christian Jonsson, adding that they were barred from the islands for a year.

A Faroe Islands court on Friday found the five guilty of disrupting the region's traditional "grind" pilot whale hunt, one of the activists said.

During the hunt, which many locals defend as a cultural right, the 3m to 6m sea mammals are driven by a flotilla of small boats into a bay, or the mouth of a fjord, before being killed by hand.

The whale meat and blubber are consumed by locals and considered delicacies on the archipelago situated between Norway, Iceland and Scotland.

The court found Italian Marianne Baldo, Belgian Christophe Bondue, Frenchman Xavier Figarella, South African Rosie Kunneke and Kevin Schiltz from Luxembourg guilty of contravening the Faroese Pilot Whale Act, Kunneke said.

Convictions

Sea Shepherd has repeatedly attempted to highlight and stop the whale hunt, launching its latest action in the area, involving two vessels and dozens of activists, two months ago.

The group says 12 activists have been convicted since the start of the year. Around 60 Sea Shepherd activists are still in the archipelago.

Provincial authorities said in an email that they would not "tolerate the disruption of the pilot whale drive in the Faroe Islands, which is a legal, fully regulated and sustainable use of an abundant natural resource".

They added: "Obstructing a whale drive can be dangerous and can put people and property at risk."

The Faroe Islands are home to just under 50 000 people and have been an autonomous Danish province since 1948.

Read more on:    conservation  |  marine life

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