Seal Campaign Still On Schedule
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society International Chairman Farley Mowat received quite a bit of ribbing yesterday. The Canadian author, whose name the Sea Shepherd flagship bears, wrote a book ironically titled The Boat That Wouldn't Float. After word spread that the ship had sprung a leak and was taking on water, Farley replied to the teasing by pointing out that the R/V Farley Mowat was in fact still floating and still has every intention of carrying on the campaign to save the seals.
On March 7th, First Officer Alex Cornelissen donned a drysuit to dive into the cold water and located a small, clean hole the size of a dime on the bottom of the ship beneath the main engine. It is an unusual hole and was not made by contact with ice. Alex was able to insert a temporary plug into the hole and the flooding has been stopped. The flooding never exceeded the ship's ability to remove the water with pumps.
The Farley Mowat will depart tomorrow for Liverpool, Nova Scotia, to be put in drydock for repairs. The repairs should only take a day and then the vessel will be ready to return to the ice floes to make its way to the harp seals. The hunt is not expected to begin until March 20th, 2005. The ship has two weeks to reach the ice before the hunt begins which allows plenty of time for repairs.
Richard Dean Anderson returned to Los Angeles today. Captain Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd Director Anderson held a media conference in Charlottetown yesterday. They were both on the ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Sunday, March 6th, for a photo shoot with the seal pups. Pictures have been sent to People magazine.
When asked about the problems with the ship, Captain Watson told reporters that these things can be expected and the crew is always prepared to deal with them. He pointed out that the publicity from the incident helped to raise awareness around the world about the seal hunt.
When told that the pelts were bringing in more money, Captain Watson replied that he was unconcerned about the profits. "There is plenty of profit to be made from slaughtering elephants for ivory and I don't support that either."
Richard Dean Anderson told reporters that he was supportive of the international boycott of Canadian fish products.
In reply to the question of why British Columbia fishermen should be targeted because of the seal hunt, Captain Watson said that the seal hunt is the responsibility of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. "They need to decide on what is more important: Supporting a subsidized slaughter of seals or hurting the fishing industry more than they already have because of their past incompetence and mismanagement."