'Vegan pirate ship' arrives in Bermuda Print E-mail
Monday, 20 August 2007 00:00

'Vegan pirate ship' arrives in Bermuda

By Ruth O'Kelly-Lynch, Royal Gazette, 20 Aug 2007
Radical: The Farley Mowat moored in Hamilton Harbour.
Photo Glenn Tucker


A radical environmental vessel arrived in Bermuda this weekend.

The Farley Mowat is moored off Salt Kettle dock. It is the flagship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation organisation and has spent the last year protecting marine life in the Antarctic and Pacific Ocean.

The group is known as one of the more controversial environment groups due to its hands-on approach to enforcing marine laws. Its founder, Paul Watson, was one of the three founding members of Greenpeace until he left the group in the 1970s and started the Sea Shepherd group.

Some media reports go so far as to refer to Mr. Watson as an "eco-terrorist" and The National Geographic Adventure Magazine referred to the vessel as a "vegan pirate ship". The group first made international headlines when the original Sea Shepherd vessel rammed into the whaling ship, Sierra, in 1979.

The Farley Mowat arrived in Bermuda on Saturday and it too has made international headlines for its involvement in a confrontation with a whaling vessel earlier this year when it allegedly interfered with a Japanese vessel that was transporting whale meat.

An Australian newspaper reported the Farley Mowat was stripped of its Belize registration as a pleasure yacht because of the Sea Shepherd's admitted history of violence against other vessels.

A spokesman for the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre said the ship was now registered in the Netherlands and added that it was here as a private vessel. He said he was not aware of the purpose of the visit, but that it was expected to be here for several weeks.

After chasing whale hunters in February the Farley Mowat spent time opposing longline fishing and shark finning off of the Galápagos Islands.

It is not known if the organisation is aware of the Bermuda Government's recent contract with the longline fishing vessel Eagle Eye II. In March Environment Minister Neletha Butterfield said she was confident that it was something Bermuda should look into.

The ship's next port of call is St. Pierre, Canada.The organisation protests the culling of thousands of seals off the east coast of Canada every year.The groups website states: "She is a protector, and a symbol of hope for a better, more humane, and more ecologically conscious future. The Farley Mowat is, has been, and will continue to be the world's greatest defender of marine wildlife."

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