Sea Shepherd Crew released from Isabela Island

During the evening of June 5, six Sea Shepherd crewmembers stranded on Isabela Island were finally allowed to leave.

At 1300 Hours the crew escorted by Naval marines went to the dock to board a Galapagos National Park vessel. They were stopped by a crowd of about 50 fishermen who told them they could not leave.

The marines and the crew retreated to the office of the Port Captain followed by the fishermen. The fishermen informed the Port Captain that they would let the Sea Shepherd crew depart if they would agree to sign a document stating that they had never been prevented from leaving and were never held on the island against their will. The crew refused to sign.

The Navy insisted that the crew sign the document so they could depart. The crew contacted Captain Paul Watson onboard the Farley Mowat and he advised them to not sign any document.

"Do not lend credibility to that mob," said Captain Watson. "The Navy should be ashamed of themselves for insisting that you follow the orders of those thugs."

The Port Captain told them that they were not being held against their will and that they could leave if they would just agree to sign the document.

Cathy Davies of New Zealand said to the Port Captain, "Can you not see how absurd you sound? We are being held right now against our will and you are asking us to sign a statement saying that we are not and unless we agree to sign this statement saying we are not being held against our will, we will continue to be held against our will."

The crew informed the Port Captain and the fishermen that holding them on the island was resulting in focusing international attention on the situation in the islands, and if they insisted on continuing to hold them hostage then the negative reporting would continue.

Finally at around 1730 Hours, the fishermen decided to let the Sea Shepherd volunteers go without the signed documents and the crewmembers boarded the Park boat and departed for Santa Cruz Island.

Back on the ship, the crew reported it was extremely strange to see armed Marines and police being intimidated by club wielding thugs.