On the afternoon of July 19, Sea Shepherd’s vessel, the Brigitte Bardot, entered Torshavn Harbour in the Faeroe Islands to collect two Faeroese crewmembers for their pilot whale defense campaign, Operation Ferocious Isles. Magnus Hjaltalin A Kamarinum, 21, from Torshavn and Hilmar Reinert Bogason, 21, from Skala, joined Sea Shepherd as the newest crewmembers on the Brigitte Bardot.
The vessel berthed in Vestara Vag, where approximately 200 Faeroese locals lined up along the pier to glimpse her arrival. Under command of Captain Fraser Hall of Canada, the Brigitte Bardot cleared customs and immigration in Torshavn without incident.
Most locals were simply curious about Sea Shepherd’s presence, with the exception of Marnar Andreasen, Torshavn district’s foreman for the grind, who approached the vessel wearing his traditional ‘grindakniv,’ the knife used to sever the spinal cord of the beached pilot whales. Waving the knife around at the crew, Andreasen warned the Sea Shepherd crew not to get “between him and his whales.” Undeterred, the crew the Brigitte Bardot spent almost 24 hours giving ship tours to the locals.
On the morning of July 20, several Torshavn locals set up a stand next to the Brigitte Bardot to serve pilot whale meat to those who passed by. Pilot whale meat is so high in heavy metal contaminants that Pal Wiehe, Health Advisor of the Faeroe Islands, has recommended that the population not consume any of it. The pilot whale meat was offered to the Sea Shepherd crew who all unsurprisingly declined. “Being offered pilot whale meat is like being offered cigarettes at an anti-smoking convention. Not only is it ironic but it is also just as deadly," said Swedish First Officer Peter Hammarstedt.
"I was on the fence about the whole thing, but the grind has gotten out of hand. Too many whales are being killed and the killing methods are inhumane," said Kamarinum.
"Somebody has to be the first to oppose the grind. Hopefully other Faeroese will follow our example," said Bogason, unsure of what kind of reception awaits him from the locals after he leaves the vessel.
Kamarinum and Bogason represent a growing population of Faeroese who oppose the grind but are too afraid to express their unpatriotic views in public.
"Kamarinum and Bogason are heroes who give us hope that we can stop the grind in the Faroe Islands. There is a new generation in the Faeroes who see the grind for what it is - a barbaric slaughter of cetaceans that has no place in the 21st century," said Captain Hall of Canada.
By midday on July 20, the Brigitte Bardot began its planned patrols of the southern most region of the Faeroe Islands in search of pilot whales.
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