(OCEAN CONSERVATION) After a frighteningly close call, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has won back their flagship, the Steve Irwin. The vessel was detained during a civil lawsuit brought against the group by Fish & Fish Limited (F & F), who claimed damages after the Steve Irwin crew rescued about 800 illegally caught bluefin tuna from F & F nets in June 2010. Despite legal troubles, with your support the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will continue to defend life in our oceans by protecting endangered marine life. — Global Animal

Guardian UK, Severin Carrell

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society won back its vessel, the Steve Irwin. Photo Credit: Patrick Gherdoussi/AP

The flagship for the environmental group Sea Shepherd was expected to set sail from Shetland on Wednesday morning after it paid £520,000 into court to secure its release.

The Steve Irwin had been detained in Shetland more than two weeks ago after a Maltese company, Fish and Fish, raised an action for damages against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a dispute over its direct action against the firm’s bluefin tuna fishery last year.

The SSCS was ordered to deposit a bond of £520,000 by the court of session in Edinburgh on Tuesday, less than the sum originally sought by the firm: it is suing Sea Shepherd for $1.2m (£736,000) in damages and had sought £660,000 in security for the vessel.

There were significant fears that the ship, originally a Scottish government fishery protection vessel, may have had to be sold because the group would be unable to raise the money required.

The Steve Irwin, named after the Australian conservationist killed by a stingray in 2006, had been in Lerwick, the Shetland capital, before taking part in demonstrations against the Faroe Islands’ annual pilot whale cull. The 40 campaigners on board the vessel hope to resume that action by joining its sister ship, the Brigitte Bardot, in Faroese waters this week.

Speaking from Sydney, Australia, Paul Watson, the group’s founder, said he was confident the group would get their bond returned. He hopes to fly to Shetland on Friday to board the ship by helicopter.

“The bond has been paid, so the ship will seek port clearance in the morning and sail for the Faroe Islands,” he said.

He added that he was encouraged by the response the protesters had received from Faroese islanders.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society stands by its resolve to save bluefin tuna. Photo Credit: Garlicchop.com

“The Faroese have not been killing any whales while the Brigitte Bardot has been there. We are making quite a bit of progress by talking to people. I find there is quite a lot of support for our position in the Faroes,” he said.

“We find it encouraging that quite a lot of people in the Faroe Islands are not happy with the killing of the pilot whales.”

Fish and Fish lodged its court action after Sea Shepherd released about 800 bluefin tuna from nets off Libya in 2010 because, the conservation group said, the Maltese firm was illegally fishing. The firm accused Sea Shepherd activists of injuring two crew after violent confrontations.

In a statement released last month, soon after the Steve Irwin was impounded, Watson said: “Fish and Fish are claiming damages for the bluefin tuna we rescued from their nets in June 2010, fish that we believe were illegally caught after the season had closed, without an inspector onboard, or any paperwork documenting the legality of their catch.”

More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/02/sea-shepherd-released-from-port

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7 COMMENTS

  1. the sea shepherd is a pirate ship and needs to be sunk to the bottom of the sea like any other pirate ship. i want tuna and because of Sea Shepherd’s actions, it makes every bite even more succulent.

  2. Wow!!!! Enjoy hell :). Don’t think for a second that you wouldn’t be willing to do anything it takes to support a cause you believe in (apparently killing animals). I personally enjoy watching someone like you squirm because for once the good guys are thinking outside of the box and making a difference in your killing world. You look so silly saying things like you can’t stop me blah blah blah…… You’re like that kid Scud Farcus from A Christmas Story who bullies people then runs home crying when the good kid bloodys his nose. The Ralphies of the world are tired of people like you bud and we are going to fight back!!

      • Arnie you sound like a little child who doesn’t like getting his way. And last i checked bluefin are classified as red listed meaning they are endangered. So take your pseudoscience and go drown trying to kill animals just cause your not getting your way. I’m sure you’ll be giving people like sea shepherd all the excuse they need to do what they do.