Without being charged, without a trial, without a hearing, without the serving of a summons, our ship the Farley Mowat has been ordered sold by the Government of Canada.
"Am I shocked or surprised?" said Captain Paul Watson. "Not really, I've smelt the bananas in Canada all my life. My country has freedom of speech until you speak, freedom of expression until you express yourself, and the freedom to hold property until the government takes it from you. Nothing that Canada, where the red of the flag stands for the blood of millions of slaughtered seals surprises me anymore. The fact is that they stole our ship without any charges laid against it or the owners and now they have ordered the sale of our property against our wishes."
The Canadian government seized the ship in international waters in April 2008 and arrested Captain Alex Cornelissen of the Netherlands and 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden for the "crime" of witnessing and documenting the killing of a seal under the Canadian Seal Protection regulations.
The Farley Mowat has been held for over a year although no charges were ever brought against the ship or the owners of the ship - the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
"The Canadian government not only has little respect for the lives of hundreds of thousands of seals, they also seem to have little respect for property and the due process of law," said Captain Paul Watson.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society made demands of the Canadian government that the Farley Mowat be returned in the same condition it was received. They refused and made the decision to sell the ship without even notifying the owner (Sea Shepherd) that the ship would be seized.
"I have no intention of recognizing the validity of any sale ordered by the Canadian government," said Captain Paul Watson. "Whoever buys the ship should be aware that we retain the registry and the original Bill of Sale and we will take back what is ours at the first opportunity. You don't steal a ship from a pirate without repercussions."
Any potential buyer should also be aware that the ship has over a quarter of a million dollars in liens against it. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will notify the creditors to be alert to any persons claiming ownership of our property. The buyer should be aware that debts on ships under maritime law stay with the ship regardless of change of ownership.
The Canadian government is taking bids on our ship until April 12th.
Captain Watson's message to any potential buyer of the Farley Mowat: "You will not be buying a ship, you'll be buying a debt worth more than the ship is worth and you will be buying something that will not be your property - ever!"