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Apology Issued as Dozens of Whales Brutally Killed in Front of Passengers

A cruise line is issuing an apology to passengers who witnessed the hunting and killing of dozens of pilot whales near their docked ship in the Faroe Islands. 

The incident, which unfolded during a long-standing local tradition, drew criticism and distress among passengers, including conservationists from ORCA, a marine life advocacy group. 

Controversial Whale Hunt in the Faroe Islands

The cruise line, Ambassador Cruise Line, expressed disappointment over the hunt taking place near their ship and reaffirmed their objection to such practices. 

As debates surrounding the ethics of the hunt continue, questions arise about the impact on marine life and the cultural significance of the tradition in the Faroe Islands.

Passengers aboard the cruise ship Ambition, owned by Ambassador Cruise Line, arrived in the port of Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands, only to witness a controversial hunt.

ORCA conservationists, present on the ship to educate tourists and collect data on marine wildlife, reported the distressing scene.

Over 40 small boats and jet skis were involved in herding the pilot whales to the shore, where the animals were slaughtered using hooks and lances by approximately 150 individuals.

The hunt lasted around 20 minutes, and the process of killing some of the animals, including nine calves, took over 30 seconds.

Ambassador Cruise Line expressed its deep disappointment regarding the proximity of the hunt to their ship and voiced strong objections to the practice.  

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The Tradition and Controversy in the Faroe Islands

A cruise line is issuing an apology to passengers who witnessed the hunting and killing of dozens of pilot whales near their docked ship in the Faroe Islands.

The company emphasized its commitment to educating guests about marine wildlife and discouraged supporting the hunters by purchasing local whale and dolphin meat.

In a statement to NPR, the cruise line extended a sincere apology to the passengers who were distressed by witnessing the event.

The hunting of pilot whales, known as the “grindadrap” or “grind,” is a long-standing tradition in the Faroe Islands. 

The local government views it as an integral part of their cultural identity and a sustainable means of obtaining food. 

Each hunt is carried out by individuals with licenses and supervised by elected officials. 

While the government claims the hunts are not highly commercialized and that the average catch has an insignificant impact on the overall pilot whale population, concerns over the sustainability and ethics of the practice persist.

The Faroe Islands’ hunting practices have faced intensified scrutiny, particularly following the record-breaking killing of over 1,400 white-sided dolphins in 2021. 

The recent incident near the cruise ship has brought further attention to the issue. 

ORCA CEO Sally Hamilton criticized the authorities for allowing the activity to take place in clear view of the passengers, suggesting that the Faroese authorities need to consider whether the allure of their marine life alive outweighs the impact of the killings on tourism.

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