Grand Princess Strikes Humpback Whale in Alaska

Multiple news sources are reporting that the Grand Princess operated by Princess Cruises struck a humpback whale two days ago. The dead whale was discovered lodged on the cruise ship's bulbous bow upon entering the port in Ketchikan, Alaska. 

Cruise ship-whale strikes are hardly uncommon. This latest incident is reportedly the second time in two years involving a whale strike caused by a cruise ship in Alaska; Holland America's Zaandam struck an endangered fin whale last year and carried the dead whale into port in Seward on its bulbous bow. 

The Princess Cruises PR spokesperson claims that the Princess cruise ship did not spot any whales near the ship as it sailed toward Ketchikan. Princess also floated out the possibility that the whale was "already deceased before becoming lodged on the bow" - the usual PR spin when a cruise ship strikes a whale. 

A necrosis will later address whether the whale was in fact alive or dead at the time that the cruise ship struck it.

A cruise passenger sent photographs of the incident, one of which is below.  

Grand Princess Whale StrikeSeveral 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. 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 unusual 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.

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August 11, 2017 Update: Meanwhile, Ottawa to force ships to slow down to prevent whale deaths in Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Will NCL Ignore Captain Kirk?

Captain Kirk William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the 1960 classic science fiction television series Star Trek, reportedly recently urged Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) to stop offering "swim with dolphins" excursions on its upcoming Star Trek themed cruise.

According to the Hollywood Reporter (THR), Mr. Shatner is hosting the "Star Trek: The Cruise" voyage aboard the Norwegian Jade this coming January. He and the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), asked NCL to end the swim-with-the-dolphins outings supported by the cruise line. He wrote a letter to NCL's CEO Frank Del Rio, saying: 

"Aboard the USS Enterprise, it was Captain Kirk's duty 'to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations' in order to advance and diversify our own. The exploitation of any species for profit and entertainment would have violated the Prime Directive. 

THR writes: "Shatner argued he's 'happy' his fans can sail on the themed-Norwegian Jade voyage, but insisted condemning captive animals to a 'lifetime of suffering' for entertainment cannot be justified. Surely, Star Trek fans would appreciate the decision to allow dolphins to remain in the wild — and prosper." 

NCL, of course, could not be reached for comment, according to the article.

NCL was last in the news for its exploitation of rare macaws in its development in Belize at Harvest Caye. The cruise line reportedly obtained numerous birds (toucans and other macaws) and animals and reptiles from the Belize government from the wild and/or rescue and rehabilitation centers for NCL Frank Del Rio display in cages for the benefit of cruise visitors. 

The prospect of CEO Del Rio responding to the commander of starship Enterprise? Between slim and none, in my opinion. Del Rio, who collected over $30,000,000 as CEO for NCL in 2015 alone, has a well deserved reputation for looking for every possible way to put money in the cruise line's coffers. 

NCL is just one of many cruise lines which sell exploitative swim-with-the-dolphins excursions to its guests.

Del Rio is probably the least likely cruise executive "to boldly go where no other cruise CEO has gone before."

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

Credits: Captain Kirk - Star Trek.com; Frank Del Rio - Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images and Storify.

Princess Cruises Causes Uproar with Balloon Release

Princess Cruises Balloon ReleaseOn June 30th, Princess Cruises celebrated the Majestic Princess's maiden cruise to Taiwan by releasing hundreds of red, blue, yellow, and pink balloons from the ship, which it photographed and posted on its Facebook page

The reaction to this environmentally-harmful publicity stunt was immediate. At the time of publishing this article, there were over 900 comments posted on Facebook with the vast majority criticizing the cruise line's conduct:

Disgraceful and irresponsible behavior from Princess Cruises with this mass balloon release  . . . These balloons will end up choking wildlife in the marine environment . . . 

Stop littering the precious ocean with plastic from your marketing stunts . . . 

Shame on you, Princess cruises for releasing HUNDREDS of balloons from your ship. You should know that this causes death to wildlife in the oceans . . . 

This makes me really sad. Those balloons will eventually come down into our oceans. Marine species mistake them as food and consume them. It kills them, and adds to the microplastic crisis and contaminates our seafood. Seriously who was the idiot who decided a balloon release was a good idea? And further, who approved it?

Princess Cruises auto-responded to the hundreds of comments protesting the balloon release by falsely claiming that the balloons were allegedly "biodegradable:"

Hi, we value and respect the environment. Only eco-friendly biodegradable balloons were used in this event.

Of course, vinyl balloons are not remotely biodegradable, as many knowledgeable cruisers explained on the Princess Facebook page. Studies posted by concerned readers conclude that it takes as long as five years before the balloon actually begins to fall apart. But then the smaller parts are consumed by fish, turtles and mammals, as one commentator pointed out: 

Princess Cruises, do you really understand what you said? Balloons don't disintegrate when Princess Cruises Balloon Releasethey hit water or land. Sea life and wildlife ingest them as food. The only biodegradable thing about them is when they rot in the stomach of dead animals. Please educate yourselves. I am shocked to see an enterprise that depends on the oceans for their revenue destroy it like this. Deplorable really!

Many of the hundreds of negative comments were left by people offended that Princess would try and defend the harmful publicity stunt.

This is a cruise line which has earned a reputation over the years as an enemy of the environment. Last December, the U.S. Department of Justice fined Princess $40,000,000 for wide-spread dumping of oil from a number of its cruise ships, by-passing the bilge-water oil separators, falsification of its logs, and lying to the Coast Guard. After it was caught for its long standing environmental crimes, Princess president Jan Swartz issued a public apology, saying that the cruise line was supposedly "committed to environmental practices that protect the marine environment."

Unfortunately, Princess Cruises' statement that it released so-called "eco-friendly" balloons suggests that Princess still hasn't learned much about protecting the marine environment.

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

Photo credit:

Top - Princess Cruises Facebook page.

Bottom - BalloonsBlow.org

Cruise Industry: A Menace to Wildlife?

Big Red - Harvest Caye - NCLThis weekend, a reader of this blog sent me an article from the San Pedro Sun regarding NCL's exploitation of rare macaws in its development in Belize at Harvest Caye.

Scarlet Macaws

NCL reportedly obtained numerous birds (toucans and other macaws) and animals and reptiles from the Belize government from the wild and/or rescue and rehabilitation centers for display in cages for the benefit of cruise visitors. 

The article addressed the plight of a scarlet macaw, which is one of the most poached birds in Belize, which was rescued by the Belize Bird Rescue (BBR), a non-profit organization in Belize. The male bird, which was named "Big Red," was rescued and underwent rehabilitation for wild release; however, several weeks ago the bird reportedly was given to Harvest Caye to entertain cruise tourists, much to the outrage of local Belizeans. Critics of NCL's boondoggle in Belize point out that NCL did not even mention a captive animal facility in the cruise line environmental impact assessment or obtain permission to possess rare birds in its environmental clearance process.  NCL apparently created its own so-called "conservation NGO" but it is not working with any of the existing NGO's in Belize.

The article about NCL's conduct, although outrageous, is just one of many examples of the abuse of birds and animals at cruise line private resorts and excursions throughout the world.

Swim-With-The-Dolphins

Dolphin rescue groups have repeatedly protested against ”swim-with-the-dolphins" excursions, like the notorious Blackbeard's Cay in the Bahamas, which have become a major feature of the cruise experience. Carnival and Royal Caribbean advertise them as “once in a lifetime experiences." The trade of dolphins in the Caribbean is big business. There are many dozens of swim-with-the-dolphins excursions sold by cruise lines in Mexico and throughout the Caribbean. The Dolphin Project writes about dolphins "confined in tiny, chlorinated tanks, where they are subject to relentless sun exposure (often resulting in sunburn), noise pollution, continuous human interaction and water toxins. Some live in polluted harbor waters, in hastily constructed holding pens, “conveniently” close to cruise ship ports for quick, tourist access." 

Cayman Island Turtle FarmCayman Islands Turtles

An animal protection group explains that in their natural ocean habitats, green sea turtles can dive to depths over 400 feet and can swim several thousands of miles a year. But held in captivity in what was originally called the Cayman Turtle Farm, subsequently re-branded as the friendlier-sounding Cayman Turtle Centre, the turtles are kept in small, crowded holding pens and are removed only for entertainment purposes to be mishandled by tourists and used for props in selfie-photos. You can also eat the turtles which are bred at the tourist facility. More than 200,000 people visit the tourist-turtle farm each year; approximately three quarters are cruise passengers.

Surrey Horses in Mexico, the Bahamas and the Caribbean

Horse tours are a popular tourist attraction for cruise visitors. Cruise lines sell dozens of excursions to tour the various port towns via horse drawn carriages. In many destinations, the horses are poorly fed Carriage Horses - Bahamasand abused. They suffer from heat exhaustion, dehydration, malnutrition, traffic fumes, noise pollution, stress, and injuries. The situation in Nassau is particularly bad; a malnourished horse dropped dead on Bay Street in downtown Nassau only to be tied by the legs and dragged down the street by a pickup truck. Exploiting horses is a dreadful way to spend a vacation cruise.

The cruise industry supports hundreds of local ports and has great influence over activities by the local communities. For example, if the cruise line would stop doing business with the tour operators who abuse horses and do business only with reputable bus and van operators, the abuse would stop virtually overnight.

Similarly, if the cruise industry would stop calling at port countries like the Faroe Islands which slaughter pilot whales, there would be considerable pressure to end the barbaric sport of killing sentient mammals, as we have urged for years.  

There are literally literally thousands of cruise excursions offered by each of the major cruise lines Faroe Islands Slaughter Whaleswhich take the majority of the revenue from the excursion. There's little consideration given by the cruise lines to anything except how much money the cruise lines can collect. I tend to view the problem as starting at the top, with the greedy cruise executives looking to collect every nickle and dime possible; but thoughtless cruise passengers are part of the problem too. One person commenting on NCL's exploitation of macaws in Belize posted this comment:

"Par for the course for people who encourage thousands of passengers to swim with captive dolphins, ride tortured elephants, camels and the like. However the passengers are equally to blame."     

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

This petition to end the exploitation of Belize's wildlife on NCL's Harvest Caye has reached 20,000 signatures. Read here.

Photo credits: 

Big Red - San Pedro Sun

Dolphin - Delfines En Libertad, Report on captive dolphins in Mexico.

Turtles -  World Animal Protection.

Horses - Stop Brutal Abuse and Suffering of Surrey Horses in the Bahamas.

Pilot Whales - Green Travel Life.

Cruise Excursion Passengers Watch Fishermen Slaughter Orcas

Orcas - Slaughter St. VincentIn a bizarrely cruel story, Caribbean 360 just covered the slaughter witnessed by cruise passengers from what has been described as the Thomson (TUI) Discovery cruise ship of two orca whales in the waters of St. Vincent. 

Whale watching tours conducted by the St. Vincent Fantasea excursion company involving passengers from the TUI cruise ship initially delighted the cruise guests when they were directed to the sight of a pod of four orcas (commonly known as "killer whales"). But the cruise excursion turned into a "bloody tragedy" as fishermen slaughtered two of the whales off of the coast of St. Vincent. 

The article says that cruise guests were "visibly shaken and many were crying" after fishermen on a boat, equipped with a shotgun-harpoon device mounted on its the bow, blasted the orcas while they swam in the waters before cruise passengers enjoying their excursion.   

Commentators say that while whaling remains a legal practice in St. Vincent, there is nothing traditional about people in speedboats using guns to kill whales.

Whale Killing - St. VincentThe orcas were them chopped up, fried and sold to locals on the beach

The horrific spectacle reminds me of the disgusting whale slaughter In the Faroe Islands which I have written about extensively. 

St. Vincent has a despicable history of killing humpback whales and marketing the meat as "Caribbean beef." St. Vincent  receives aid from Japan and votes with Japan at the International Whaling Commission to continue whaling.

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

Photo credit: Caribbean 360 - top; Adam Gravel via Daily Mail - bottom. 

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