Cruise line apologetic after passengers sail into horrific whale slaughter

WARNING: Graphic content.

Ambassador Cruise Line passengers got a lot more than they paid for as they unexpectedly watched in shock as dozens of pilot whales were horrifically slaughtered in front of them while visiting Denmark’s Faroe Islands.

The cruise line profusely apologized for a trip aboard the “Ambition” to Tórshavn on July 9 which passengers are never likely to forget for all the wrong reasons. Locals killed 78 pilot whales which are members of the dolphin family. A lengthy statement was issued via Twitter that condemned the bloody hunt, apologizing to everyone on board the ship at the time.

“We strongly object to this outdated practice, and have been working with our partner, ORCA, a charity dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in U.K. and European waters, to encourage change since 2021,” Ambassador tweeted, stressing its commitment to sustainability as one of its “core” values.

“We fully appreciate that witnessing this local event would have been distressing for the majority of guests onboard,” the company understated. “Accordingly, we would like to sincerely apologize to them for any undue upset.”

Ambassador CEO Christian Verhounig also made a statement on the slaughter and the inadvertent viewing of it: “We are dedicated to supporting ORCA in their endeavours to collect data and to monitor whales and dolphins and we are extremely disappointed that this has happened after weeks of trying to open constructive dialogue with the Faroese government and Visit Faroes on these issues. We continue to educate our guests and crew not to buy or eat any whale or dolphin meat and stand against any profiteering from commercial whaling and dolphin hunts.”

Conservationists from ORCA were ironically on board the ship that witnessed the slaughter. According to the organization, small boats and jet skis were used to herd the pilot whales into shallow waters. The whales were then hauled ashore and killed.

“It defies belief that the Faroese authorities allowed this activity to take place in clear sight of a cruise ship packed with passengers sitting in dock,” ORCA CEO Sally Hamilton remarked according to CBS News. “On one hand, they promote their pristine environment and spectacular wildlife while simultaneously wielding gaff hooks and lances to kill whales and dolphins. It’s almost as if they are flaunting the hunt and taunting the tourists.”

The hunt is known as grindadráp or the “grind.” It loosely translates to “whale slaughter” and happens regularly throughout the year according to Newsweek. Locals herd the whales to an area with shallow water where hunters brutally kill them with knives and hooks.

A review of the practice in 2021 found that 1,423 dolphins were slaughtered in just one hunt. In response to that report, the Faroese government placed a limit of 500 on that specific breed while failing to cap the overall number killed.

Fox News reported, “An official at the time told the BBC that the incredible number was a ‘big mistake’ that did not line up with the initial estimate of ‘only 200 dolphins’ in the pod.”

According to the Blue Planet Society, the hunt on July 9 brings the total number of pilot whales killed this year to 650. They are calling on the European Union and the UK to “take a stand against this unacceptable torture.”

“The Faroese government insists on its website that the practice ‘is deemed sustainable,’ requiring all hunters to carry a license and only hunt in designated areas. It notes that the total population in the region is around 778,000 and that only about 100,000 come near the Faroe Islands each year, of which they claim to kill only the smallest portion,” Fox News noted.

“Whaling in the Faroe Islands has been regulated for centuries,” the government claims, justifying the slaughter. “The law explicitly states that the hunt is to be conducted in such a way as to cause as little suffering to the whales as possible.”

According to the Faroese government, the killing is not commercial. Instead, the whale meat is distributed for free to the local community where the hunt happens as part of a “traditional community-based sharing.” Whale meat and blubber are “occasionally” available for sale in some supermarkets on the dockside.

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