Barred a week ago from entering within 12 nautical miles from the baselines of the Faroe Islands, Canadian anti-whaling activist Paul Watson’s vessel ‘John Paul DeJoria’ publicly violated the entry ban in pursuit of a whaling event taking place in Tórshavn on July 9th.
As word spread of a 78-strong group of pilot whales spotted off the southwestern coast of Streymoy with subsequent herding to Tórshavn’s Sandagerði beach, Captain Watson and his crew moved quickly to attend the action, disregarding a specific order from the Faroese government for the John Paul DeJoria to stay out of the 12-mile limit.
Patrol vessels trailed the fast-going John Paul DeJoria, struggling to catch up; however when reaching the outskirts of Tórshavn’s East Harbour, Mr. Watson gave up presumably after learning that the ‘grind’ event was already over and dealt with, without any issues reported.
Police chief Michael Boolsen told government-funded broadcaster KvF that Mr. Watson could expect to be fined for breaking the law, adding that a more severe punishment will be likely in case of any repeat offense.
Høgni Hoydal, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said he was not surprised by Mr. Watson’s actions, stressing that his breach of the 12-mile limit calls for consequences.
“I don’t think he got anything out of it, except for provoking the Faroese and our sense of justice,” Mr. Hoydal noted.
In the wake of the failed attempt at disrupting Sunday’s grind, the John Paul de Joria swiftly retreated to outside the 12-mile limit.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the special prohibition order for the Jamaica-registered ‘research vessel’ to enter within the 12-mile limit had been issued because “representatives of the ship’s crew have publicly expressed an unequivocal intention to conduct activities, which, in so far these activities are landward the outer limit of the territorial sea of the Faroe Islands, are inconsistent with international law and relevant municipal law of the Faroe Islands.”