Cruise Line Issues Apology After Whales Slaughtered in Front of Passengers

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
July 16, 2023UKshare
Cruise Line Issues Apology After Whales Slaughtered in Front of Passengers
Fishermen on a boat drive pilot whales towards the shore during a hunt in Torshavn, Faroe Islands, on May 29, 2019. (Andrija Ilic/AFP via Getty Images)

A British cruise line apologized to its passengers after one of its ships docked at a port in the Faroe Islands during a pilot whale hunt.

Faroe Islands, an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark, is situated in the North Atlantic, between Scotland, Iceland, and Norway.

Ambassador Cruise Lines confirmed on July 9 that its ship, Ambition, arrived on the same day in the port of Torshavn while there was “a hunt of 40+pilot whales in the port area.”

“We were incredibly disappointed that this hunt occurred at the time that our ship was in port,” the cruise ship operator said in a post on Twitter.

“We strongly object to this outdated practice, and have been working with our partner, ORCA, a charity dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins, and porpoises in UK and European waters, to encourage change since 2021.

“Sustainability is one of Ambassador Cruise Line’s core values, and we fully appreciate that witnessing this local event would have been distressing for the majority of guests onboard. Accordingly, we would like to sincerely apologise to them for any undue upset,” the operator said.

Conservation and campaign group ORCA said that some of its ocean conservationists were on board the ship at the time of the killings. In a blog, the group said many of the tourists “had specifically come to enjoy seeing whales and dolphins in their natural environment.”

The slaughter on July 9 was part of a centuries-old mass hunting tradition called Grindadráp in Faroese. It was the sixth hunt of the year that resulted in the deaths of 78 long-finned pilot whales in the port area. ORCA noted that among the whales killed were “[nine] tiny calves estimated as being no more than a month old.”

“Passengers watched on in horror as a flotilla of 40+ small boats and jet-skis drove and herded the pilot whales into shallow waters,” reads a blog from the group’s website. “A group of 150 people then hauled the animals ashore with hooks and others armed with killing lances slaughtered the animals in the space of 20 minutes. ORCA observed that some of the pilot whales, including a calf, took over 30 seconds to die.”

“It defies belief that the Faroese authorities allowed this activity to take place in clear sight of a cruise ship packed with passengers sitting in dock,” Sally Hamilton, the CEO of ORCA, said in a statement.

“On one hand, they promote their pristine environment and spectacular wildlife while simultaneously wielding gaff hooks and lances to kill whales and dolphins. It’s almost as if they are flaunting the hunt and taunting the tourists,” the statement said.

The CEO of Ambassador Cruise Lines, Christian Verhounig, said in a statement: “We are dedicated to supporting ORCA in their endeavours to collect data and to monitor whales and dolphins and we are extremely disappointed that this has happened after weeks of trying to open constructive dialogue with the Faroese government and Visit Faroes on these issues.

“We continue to educate our guests and crew not to buy or eat any whale or dolphin meat and stand against any profiteering from commercial whaling and dolphin hunts.”

From The Epoch Times

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