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On Saturday, armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stormed and seized Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship the Farley Mowat. All of the Sea Shepherd crew were brought into Sydney, Nova Scotia by the Canadian Coast Guard late Saturday night.
Captain Alex Cornelissen and 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt were detained and charged with allegedly approaching within 1/2 nautical mile of the seal slaughter. They appeared in court on the morning of April 13th. They are expected to be released on bail today. The rest of the crew-members are currently waiting at the court house on a hunger strike in solidarity with Captain Cornelissen and 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt.
The Farley Mowat remains in the custody of the Canadian Government. It has not yet been determined whether the government intends to permanently confiscate the vessel. The Farley Mowat was documenting the cruel and inhumane slaughter of seals in international waters-not Canadian waters- at the time of the boarding.
"It is these images of brutal sadistic slaughter on the ice floes that Canada is desperate to keep hidden," said Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of Sea Shepherd. "What the Sea Shepherd crew have witnessed over the last two weeks has exposed the lies of Canadian government claims that the seal slaughter is humane. Canadian Minister of Fisheries Loyola Hearn authorized an assault on a Dutch registered vessel in international waters in order to detract from the tragedy his department was responsible for two weeks ago when four sealers drowned while under tow by the Canadian Coast Guard."
In Canada it is illegal to film, photograph or even witness a seal being killed without permission of the Minister of Fisheries. Hearn said that the action was taken to protect the safety of the sealers.
Captain Watson responded by saying, "The sealers have nothing to fear from our cameras and everything to fear from Canadian government's incompetence. So far Canada has been responsible for four deaths while we were simply taking pictures of sealers inhumanely killing seals."