For the past two years the German Whale and Dolphin Protection Forum (WDSF) has intervened against the annual landings of the AIDA, Hapag-Lloyd and TUI Cruises cruise companies on the Faroe Islands in the north east Atlantic due to the bloody hunting and slaughter of pilot whales and other types of dolphin
With respect to the cruise companies, AIDA has stopped three pending landings according to the evidence of the WDSF, since the law about whaling “Grindalógin“was tightened and now that all persons, natives as well as visitors, are obliged to report each sighting of sea mammals within twelve sea miles of the coast to the authorities, so that the hunt can be approved. If the sighting of whale schools is not reported, a fine or prison sentences of up to two years can be imposed.
A letter from the AIDA environment director Monika Griefahn to the WDSF of 7th August states:
“Out of a sense of responsibility towards our crew and our guests as well as for reasons of animal protection, AIDA Cruises has decided to no longer land on the Faroe Islands until further notice.” After the first WDSF protests in 2013 Monika Griefahn has remained in contact with the prime minister of the Faroe Islands Kaj Leo Johannes, to “express the disapproval of whaling”.
“Despite the assurances of the prime minister to support whale protection, there is no progress in this respect, in fact the opposite.”
Only last Friday five animal-rights activists from different countries and the organisation Sea Shepherd Global were fined between EUR 670 and EUR 10,050 or sentenced to 14 days imprisonment, since they allegedly broke the new law. Another activist, Susan Larsen from the US, was deported and the German Tom Strerath, who was arrested on 20th June, had to surrender his passport and since then is awaiting trial.
Now Hapag-Lloyd cruises has informed the WDSF that they are looking for a critical dialogue with the responsible parties on site and that they have already reduced the number of landings on the Faroe Islands and are currently reviewing other possible alternatives for the planned route next year.
TUI Cruises in Hamburg wrote to the WDSF after the demand for a landing stop on the group of islands to protect the guests and in the interests of animal welfare:
“The problem on the Faroe Islands is of course known to us and we strongly condemn the practice of whaling. However, in this context we do not think a boycott is a constructive approach.” It would be better to “inform the guests on board about the situation to create awareness about the events in the regions”.
Alternative routes will be first considered from 2017.
WDSF managing director Jürgen Ortmüller:
“The decision of AIDA and Hapag Lloyd is exemplary and will ensure positive awareness worldwide. The TUI cruise statement is inadequate. TUI offers 19 different shore leaves during their respective stops. Despite the tangible danger to guests the money will be pocketed. Irrespective of the legal requirements guests with their children can be traumatised for life if they have to witness such a brutal and savage slaughter. Even the penetrating smell of blood spreads within the vicinity of the slaughter bays and harbours and triggers nausea in most people. When on shore tourists are often offered pilot whale meat for consumption which is often contaminated with mercury and other environmental poisons. Now TUI Cruises is also boycotted.”
In 2013 1,104 pilot whales and 430 white-sided dolphins were brutally killed on the beaches of the Faroe Island during 12 hunts. Last year volunteers from the animal welfare organisation ProWal with the support of the WDSF placed so called pingers in the fjords.
As a result the number of pilot whales killed was reduced to 48 animals. Between 6th June and 23rd July this year 429 pilot whales were brutally slaughtered (of which 142 pilot whales were from the TUI landing harbour in Tórshavn), and the murder carries on.