Created on Saturday, 05 April 2008 14:32
Written by Press Release
Farley Mowat Attacked by Mob of Angry Fishermen
ea Shepherd Conservation Societyâ€™s ship, the Farley Mowat, was attacked this morning by a mob of 30-40 angry fishermen. The attack took place while berthed in the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.
The Farley Mowat was berthed in St. Pierre to transfer video footage of the Canadian seal slaughter onto shore and await the resumption of the slaughter, which was temporarily suspended after the death of four sealers.
Tensions quickly escalated in St. Pierre as the growing mob
hurled rocks, threats, and insults at crew members of the Farley Mowat.
Cameraman Simeon Houtman was assaulted by an axe-wielding fisherman
after stepping onshore to film the incident. â€œThe fisherman raised the
axe above his head with one arm and tried to knock Simeon back with his
other. Simeon jumped back onto the ship just before the mob threw our
gangplank into the water,â€ said Peter Hammarstedt, First Officer of the
Captain Alex Cornelissen requested assistance
from the French police--at least half a dozen of whom were present at
the scene--but they did nothing to defend the ship or crew against the
mob. Instead, the police suggested that Sea Shepherd should leave St.
Captain Cornelissen explained to the
police that it would take some time to warm the engines in order to
leave port safely and avoid serious engine damage. He requested
protection during that time, but the police did nothing other than
stand by and watch as fishermen hacked at the mooring lines of the
Farley Mowat with an axe and ripped the gangplank from the ship,
setting it dangerously adrift into the harbor.
After the mob
severed head and bow-spring lines from the bollards, Sea Shepherd crew
members scurried to pull in lines and prevent them from drifting back
towards the screw or into the bowthruster. â€œThe mob responded with a
rain of stones and rocks that were thrown with the intent to injure,â€
Without engine power, the Farley Mowat
drifted uncontrollably in serious danger of crashing into nearby rocks
and/or ships in the harbor. Captain Cornelissen had no choice but to
start the engines cold--risking irreparable damage--in order to avoid a
potentially lethal collision.
Although the Farley Mowat was
able to escape the hostile crowd at St. Pierre, the extent of engine
damage sustained remains undetermined. Fortunately, all crew members
were on board during the attack, and no-one was injured.