“If it’s not something, it’s something else!” ~ Gilda Radner, as "Roseanne Roseannadanna"
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s campaigns are often unpredictable, and they must always be prepared for obstacles, hurdles, ambushes, and blindsided sucker punches. Just as they were about to depart Lerwick in the Shetland Islands to launch the Operation Ferocious Isles campaign against the illegal slaughter of pilot whales, two court officials from Aberdeen arrived at the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin. The officials served Sea Shepherd with a detainment notice because Fish & Fish, a Maltese fishing company, filed a civil suit in the British Court alleging that Sea Shepherd damaged property they claim to own.
Fish & Fish are specifically referring to damage they allege was done to bluefin tuna fishing gear by Sea Shepherd in the Mediterranean in 2010.
Sea Shepherd is not particularly worried about the suit because their actions against illegal fishing operations are taken only after obtaining sufficient evidence to prove that the target is operating illegally, and they believe they have such evidence against Fish & Fish and will be defending the suit on that basis. However, let’s not forget that lawsuits can be filed for many reasons. This may have happened for financial redress, or simply because Sea Shepherd has had serious success exposing the illegalities of operations profiting from the destruction of the bluefin tuna and they want to interfere with their activities. Either way, Sea Shepherd is confident that their defense against this suit is strong.
In the meantime, a warrant to detain the ship was conveniently served at 1630 afternoon on the eve of their departure to the Faeroe Islands to protect pilot whales from slaughter.
Sea Shepherd is able to send the Brigitte Bardot vessel as planned, but the Steve Irwin will be delayed until they can post a bond, which their legal department is currently working towards.
In any campaign, Sea Shepherd must remain flexible and ready to deal with the unexpected. This legal assault by the tuna fishing industry will delay them but will certainly not deter or stop them from defending the whales this summer.
Operation Ferocious Isles will commence as scheduled with the departure of the Brigitte Bardot on July 16 from Lerwick in the Scottish Shetland Islands.