Pullmantur Monarch Strikes a Whale

Whale Cruise Ship StrikeA passenger aboard the Pullmantur Monarch (formerly Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas) informed us that the cruise ship apparently struck a whale last week as the ship was returning to the port of Lisbon. He photographed the whale carcass (at bottom) which was lodged on the bulbous bow of the cruise ship. Here's the information which we received from the passenger:

"The Pullmantur Monarch cruise ship came into the Port of Lisbon last Monday with the carcass of a whale wrapped around the bow and resting on the bulbous nose. The whitish gray whale looked to be about 18-20 feet long, so it must have been a young whale . . .  It must have unfortunately breached directly ahead of the ship. It probably never had a chance as it collided with the 74,000 Ton ship traveling at around 16 knots."

The message was from a retired US Coast Guard Reserve officer (Lieutenant) who is accustomed to seeing / investigating these type of incidents. 

Several years ago, environmental groups filed a petition with the federal government seeking to force cruise ships and other large vessels to slow down in order to reduce the chances of whale strikes. The petition was focused on the waters between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but it signaled the importance of environmental groups concerned with marine life who share the oceans with super tankers and today's increasingly larger cruise ships. 

In one of the most graphic photographs of a cruise ship / whale strike, in 2009 the Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess arrived in port in Vancouver, unaware that the cruise ship impaled a fin whale on the ship's bow while in Alaskan waters (photo below). The whale was a female fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus). Princess claimed that the whale was already dead when the cruise ship hit her.

Of those whale-strikes which are reported, it is quite usual for the dead whale to be noticed only when it is brought into a port on the bow of a large ship as indicated on this comprehensive report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Marine Fisheries Service..

Top: Rex Features / Telegraph U.K.

Bottom: LT Rene Torres, USCGR

Dead Whale - Cruise Ship

Faroe Island's Bloody Fjords

Today, the German newspaper Deutsche Welle published an article Faroe Islands: Cruise Boycott Hits Tourism

The article explains that two German cruise lines, AIDA and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, "have agreed no longer to feature the Faroe Islands. The move comes in response to pressure from animal rights groups to boycott the country over the mass slaughter of whales."

The article cites the efforts of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Forum (Wal- und Delfinschutz-Forum - WDSF) which brought about the change.  The conservation forum is now concentrating Faroe Islands Whale Slaughterits efforts to stop the horrific slaughter of pilot whales by focusing on another German cruise line, TUI, which is still cruising to the Faroe Islands.

I recently wrote about this gruesome, bloody so-called tradition where locals use powerboats to chase frightened whales into a harbor where they are met by locals with knives while their family members cheer them on in what appears like a cruel and bloody sport from hell. The locals rip out baby whales from their mothers in this monstrous, brutal slaughter.

Our article last week, Cruise Lines Continue to Support Mass Murder of Whales in Faroe Islands, was viewed several hundred thousand times with over 5,800 Facebook "likes," for what that's worth, (as well as numerous hate-emails from residents of the Faroe Islands and Denmark).  

Aside from AIDA and Hapag-Lloyd, and Disney Cruises which took the Faroes off its proposed itinerary last year, most cruise lines still visit the Faroes Islands.  

TUI's Mein Shiff 4, owned by parent companies Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. & TUI AG, will call there next week.

The U.S. State Department says that the standard of living in the Faroe Islands for the total population Mein Schiff 4(about 48,000) is "high" by world standards.

The Faroese economy has revolved primarily around the fishery industry, accounting for about 95% of its exports of a little over one billions dollars a year.

The Faroes appear susceptible to a boycott.

In July 2013, the EU imposed sanctions on the Faroe Islands due to a dispute over the fishing quota of herring and mackerel. The boycott which started in August 2013 banned Faroese vessels carrying herring or mackerel from all EU ports, including Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The Faroe Islands could no longer export herring or mackerel to EU countries. The boycott was successful and ended a year later, in August of 2014

To achieve an effective boycott, we recommend taking three steps:

  1. Don't buy any fish products, such as salmon, from the Faroe Islands. Tell your local supermarket, fish store or sushi restaurant to stop buying fish from the Faroe Islands.
  2. Don't travel to the Faroe Islands; tell your travel agents to cross the Faroe Islands off your travel itinerary.
  3. Don't cruise to the Faroe Islands or support cruise lines that do; contact your favorite cruise line and tell them to stop calling on the Faroe Islands.     

TUI, a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean and TUI AG, claims that it "condemns the practice of whaling," but it will send the Mein Schiff 4 to Thorshavn, Faroe Islands and spend the day there on July 20th.

It is talking out of both sides of its mouth by still supporting the Faroes' inhumane whale slaughter.

If you are in the U.S. contact Royal Caribbean, or in Germany contact TUI, and tell them that you oppose the killing of whales and won't cruise with them until they drop the Faroe Islands from their itineraries.   

Photo Credit: Grind slaughter (2015) - Twitter #OpKillingBay; Mein Schiff 4 - By HenSti CC BY-SA 4.0.

Video Credit: Sea Shepherd 

Cruise Lines Continue to Support Mass Murder of Whales in Faroe Islands

Yesterday, residents in the Faroe Islands brutally slaughtered a pod of 30-50 pilot whales in the Danish island's annual gruesome, grindadráp (grind). 

The Sea Shepherd organization, which is barred by Denmark from the Faroe Islands, wrote yesterday "the ordeal began this morning when locals spotted a pod of between 100-150 pilot whales passing by Svínoy. Several boats then drove the pod of whales approximately 11 kilometers to Hvannasund, where the whales were forced to beach, and slaughtered by locals. Faroese media outlets have confirmed between 30-50 pilot whales have been killed."

Admittedly, I was oblivious to this cruelty until last year when a reader of this blog asked me about Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter what I thought of cruise lines sailing to these islands. I said in a prior article:

"This weekend I read up on what I now feel comfortable calling the evil, murderous Faroe Islands. I am absolutely disgusted by what I read and by the horrific images I saw.

Around 1,000 pilot whales are killed each year in the Faroe Islands. But these are not far out at sea murders by huge Japanese ships away from civilization. These are well attended sporting events where the whales are chased into a harbor and killed by the locals with knives while their family members cheer them on. The locals call it the "Grindadráp Grind." I call it the killing of defenseless mammals for fun by sick sociopaths. Here's what one person described:

The whales 'are dragged to the shallow water, where participants in the kill then wade in the sea to around waist height. There they are slaughtered with traditional knives whose blades are usually 16 to 19 cm (6.3 to 7.5 in) long. Usually two deep cuts are made on either side of the animal’s neck, just behind the blow hole, causing the head to drop forward; a third cut is then made through the middle of the neck down to the carotid arteries and spinal cord, which are severed. After a period of violent thrashing the animal is paralyzed and loses consciousness, dying of blood loss in most cases. With this the sea turns bright red with blood.'

Think this is horrific? The images are far, far worse. 

. . . Pilot whales are highly intelligent. They sense fear when they and their pods are under such a vicious attack. Mother whales are gutted and their baby whales ripped out. The violence is Faroe Islands Whale Slaughterunconscionable. So is cruising there on a family vacation."

Most cruise lines still sail to the Faroe Islands and contribute to the economy there, notwithstanding this senseless brutality.

Azamara cruises there. Princess still advertises cruises to the Faroes.

HAL's Zuiderdam and Prinsendam will cruise there this year in July and next year as well. Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Voyager calls on the Faroe Islands port of Thorshavn this month as well as Oceania Cruises' Nautica.  Cruise and Maritime Voyages's Marco Polo, Silversea Cruises' Silver Wind and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Boudicca will bring passengers to the Faroes in August. NCL's Norwegian Star and Viking's Viking Star will stop there this September and the Viking Sky and Viking Sea will stop next year. TUI's Mein Shiff 4, owned by parents companies Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. & TUI AG, will call there in two weeks. Windstar and Saga Cruises ships will include the Faroes on their itineraries next year. There are dozens of other cruise ships that will call on the port of Torshavn in the Faroes this summer. 

Disgusted by the carnage?  Make a promise to yourself not to cruise or travel there. Call your travel agent and complain. Tell your favorite cruise lines to stop supporting the Faroe Islands. 

July 8 2016 Update: Due to the efforts of the Wal- und Delfinschutz-Forum (WDSF), a number of cruise lines stopped calling on the Faroe Islands: AIDA, HapagLloyd, Costa Crociere and TransOcean. Readers can review copies of e-mails between the WDSF and these cruise lines leading to these cruise lines eliminating the Faroes from their itineraries.

Sea Shepherd mentions the success of the campaign last year: International Outcry Against Pilot Whale Slaughter Continues as Major German Cruise Liner Companies Cancel Faroe Islands Stops.

Read how Captain Paul Watson's Sea Shepherd organization is campaigning to end the antiquated tradition of brutally slaughtering thousands of pilot whales

Take a moment and sign the petition to stop the slaughter here.

 

Photo Credit: nordlysid.fo (top) and Sea Shepherd (bottom)

 

Stop the Grind - Boycott Cruise Lines that Cruise to Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands Whale SlaughterEuropean cruise lines AIDA, Hapag-Lloyd, and P & O have already decided to avoid the Faroe Islands because of the cruel and gruesome slaughter of pilot whales (Grindadrap). Kudos to them. Disney is the only U.S. based cruise line avoiding the Faroes. Double Kudos to the Magical Cruise Company for doing the right thing. 

But Royal Caribbean and Royal Caribbean-owned Azamara, NCL and Oceania & Regent Seven Seas (both owned by NCL), Silversea Cruises, Windstar, and HAL & Princess (both owned by Carnival) are still sailing to the Faroes. I doubt that people would cruise on these companies' cruise ships to the Faroe islands if they knew about this slaughter. 

Yesterday the Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson mentioned this blog is his commentary "STOP THE VOYAGES TO HELL - Whale Friendly Tourists are not Welcome in the Danish Faroe Islands." Captain Watson explains that the Faroes recently passed a law that requires tourists to report pods of whales so that the country can slaughter them. He writes that:

"One of the pods of Pilot Whales exterminated by the Faroese whalers earlier this summer was spotted and reported by a tourist because the "special" new Grind Laws of the Faroe Islands makes it a criminal offense for anybody to not report a pod of whales to the whalers.

So when tourists have been recruited into being accessories to the slaughter, it is time to discourage more tourists from being recruited." 

It's time to act. If you are disturbed by this evil spectacle, do something about it.  Call your travel agent. Complain to the cruise lines that support the Faroe Islands and which profit from excursions to this location. Refuse to cruise on ships that cruise there. Don't give your money to cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, NCL and Carnival brands that sail there. 

Have a comment? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: campaign-whale.org  Be sure to watch the short video below:

Cruise Industry Supports Mass Murder of Whales in Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands Whale SlaughterA reader of Cruise Law News asked me last week what I thought of cruise lines sailing to Denmark's Faroe Islands (sometimes called Faeroe Islands) where they slaughter pilot whales. I didn't know anything about the issue, but I promised that I would look into it. 

This weekend I read up on what I now feel comfortable calling the evil, murderous Faroe Islands. I am absolutely disgusted by what I read and by the horrific images I saw.

Around 1,000 pilot whales are killed each year in the Faroe Islands. But these are not far out at sea murders by huge Japanese ships away from civilization. These are well attended sporting events where the whales are chased into a harbor and killed by the locals with knives while their family members cheer them on. The locals call it the "Grindadráp Grind." I call it the killing of defenseless mammals for fun by sick sociopaths. Here's what one person described:

The whales "are dragged to the shallow water, where participants in the kill then wade in the sea to around waist height. There they are slaughtered with traditional knives whose blades are usually 16 to 19 cm (6.3 to 7.5 in) long. Usually two deep cuts are made on either side of the animal’s neck, just behind the blow hole, causing the head to drop forward; a third cut is then made through the middle of the neck down to the carotid arteries and spinal cord, which are severed. After a period of violent thrashing the animal is paralyzed and loses consciousness, dying of blood loss in most cases. With Faroe Islands Whale Slaughterthis the sea turns bright red with blood."

Think this is horrific? The images are far, far worse

How do we stop this evil? One way is to boycott the islands. There are numerous cruise lines which still cruise there, notwithstanding efforts to persuade them to call on other ports.  

Change.org has a petition to stop Carnival-owned Holland America Line from stopping at the islands. They have branded their efforts as #GRINDSTOP, a term started I believe by the Sea Shepherd organization. The petition is addressed to Stein Kruse who is, in my opinion, the epitome of a pompous, indifferent cruise executive if there ever were one. The petition is also directed to other uppity-ups at HAL who obviously could care less about whales as long as the money generated by cruise excursions to the islands is an issue.

Care2petitions also has a petition to stop cruise lines from supporting the slaughter in the Faroes. It is addressed to Carnival-owned Cunard and P&O Cruises, as well as Fred Olsen Cruises and Cruise & Maritime. 

The Dodo also has a campaign against the hunt and a petition which you can sign.

The official Sea Shepherd Anti-Grind campaign is here.

There are other cruise lines which have scheduled port call in the Faroe Islands. Travel agents tell me that Royal Caribbean Cruises and Royal Caribbean-owned Azamara, as well as Princess Cruises and Faroe Islands Whale SlaughterNorwegian Cruise Line (NCL) sail to the Faroe Islands and showed me itineraries confirming that they sail there. 

Disney took the Faroe Islands off its schedule recently and was smart enough to see the storm of public opinion forming against cruise lines supporting such a place.

Pilot whales are highly intelligent. They sense fear when they and their pods are under such a vicious attack. Mother whales are gutted and their baby whales ripped out. The violence is unconscionable. So is cruising there on a family vacation.

Please take a moment and sign the petitions. Make a promise to yourself not to sail on a cruise there. Complain to your travel agent, and tell the cruise lines to stop supporting the Faroe Islands. It's the least we can do to stop the carnage and suffering.

Photo Credits: GreenTravelife - above; Sea Shepherd - bottom. 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Update: Faroese law actually codifies this barbaric practice