On July 9, passengers aboard the “Ambition” witnessed the “horrific scene” of this year’s pilot whaling in the Faroe Islands – known locally as the “grindtrap”.
Nature conservation organization ORCA writes in a press release. The incident must have taken place while the ship was docked in Tórshavn.
The cruise ship arrived in the Faroes capital with its sixth pilot whale hunt of the year. According to the organization, 78 pilot whales — including nine calves estimated to be one month old — were slaughtered in the harbor.
The slaughter – allegedly carried out by whale spears – must have taken more than 20 minutes, and ORCA says it took more than half a minute to kill some of the animals.
The company apologizes
American NPR Ambassador Cruise Line, the British company that owns the ship, writes that ORCA confirms the order of events.
Starting in 2021, the company made its ships available for company data collection — and paid ORCA crew members to give lectures to their guests. So representatives from ORCA were on board when the incident happened.
In a statement to NPR, the company says they strongly distance themselves from the practice and encourage their guests to support them by purchasing local whaling products.
– We fully understand that witnessing this local event was an inconvenience for most of our guests on board.
The companies “profoundly apologize” to their guests, they write further.
ORCA CEO Sally Hamilton was scathing in a statement back in the press release:
– It is unbelievable that the Faroese authorities allowed this operation in full view of a cruise ship full of passengers in port. On the one hand, they promote their untouched nature and spectacular wildlife. At the same time, they kill whales and dolphins with forked hooks and spears. They brag about hunting and make fun of tourists.
The pilot whale is a toothed whale of the dolphin family. The hunt for long-finned pilot whales has deep historical roots in the Faroe Islands. It usually drives herds into shallow water before killing them.
Pilot whaling came under critical scrutiny in September 2021 when 1,400 beluga whales — a toothed whale in the dolphin family — were killed in a single day. BBC.
Information about the catch on the website The National Government of the Faroe Islands insists that the catch is sustainable, regulated, natural and based on the contributions of the entire local population.
– The Faroese Animal Welfare Act, which also applies to whaling, requires animals to be killed as quickly and efficiently as possible. The website states that the whales are killed inshore and in shallow waters, especially in suitable and approved ports, by persons with the necessary permits, under the supervision of local elected officials.
Whale meat meal
Local authorities also insist that the catch is not carried out by commercial interests, but is distributed freely among the local population. According to Faroese officials, sperm and whale meat are only sold in shopping centers and a few outlets in the port.
And whale meat, that’s food, Faroese officials remind.
– Whaling is not an annual celebration or ritual, as is often wrongly claimed. Whaling in the Faroe Islands brings food and can happen at any time of the year.
Between 1709 and 2014, an average of 850 pilot whales were caught. The Great Norwegian Encyclopedia. The average has dropped to 670 over the past decade.
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