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