|Tuesday, October 16, 2007|
Norwegian Whaling Vessel's Career is Finished
The Willassen Senior, the Norwegian whaling vessel that was scuttled on August 30, 2007 in the northern city of Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands, will not be killing any more whales-ever again. The damage sustained by the vessel that was deliberately sunk by whale defenders exceeded $22 million kroner (over US $2 million). Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was pleased to learn that the Willassen Senior was not insured. The owners of the vessel have decided to scrap the ship, because they cannot afford to pay to repair the extensive damage caused to the electrical and mechanical systems by salt water. A group called Agenda 21 has taken credit for scuttling the whaling ship.
"One less whaling ship on the water translates into fewer whales being killed by these criminal whalers," said Sea Shepherd Founder and President Captain Paul Watson. "The Agenda 21 team did an excellent job: no injuries, no evidence, no mistakes, and no more whaling. These are results that we can appreciate and admire."
Immediately after the whaler was scuttled, the owners of other whaling vessels in Norway placed their ships under 24-hour guard. This translates into increased security costs for whaling ships, which cuts into whaling profits. "The whalers should be afraid of being scuttled," said Captain Watson. "A vessel that is being operated in clear defiance of international conservation law and is involved with the illegal slaughter of these intelligent and gentle creatures has only one place-on the bottom of the sea!"
Norwegian police have been unsuccessful in identifying the Agenda 21 team members. All they have done so far is to seize a hard drive from an internet cafe in Svolvaer, based on a report that one of the sabotage team members may have been using a computer there. Police have confirmed that the Willassen Senior was deliberately sunk by a saboteur (or saboteurs) unknown. The ship was sunk when a pipe used to provide salt water cooling to the engine was removed. It took four hours for the ship to sink, allowing the whale defenders plenty of time to leave the area.
"This was not a crime," said Captain Watson. "The Willassen Senior was a ship engaged in criminal activity specifically violating the International Whaling Commission's global moratorium on commercial whaling activities. Sinking this whaler was an act of law enforcement, and we applaud this successful retirement of an illegal killing machine."