Operation Northern Exposure 2022Sea Shepherd announces the arrival in Iceland of a commercial charter vessel assigned to Operation Northern Exposure 2022 - our latest campaign to document and report on commercial fin whaling by 'Hvalur hf’ in Icelandic waters.

In 2018, Sea Shepherd UK launched Operation Mjölnir which documented an entire Icelandic fin whaling season from vantage points around Hvalfjörður with 145 of 146 whales dragged back to the whaling station documented in images, videos and livestreams.

This year, on Operation Northern Exposure, international volunteers from Sea Shepherd groups around the world together with Sea Shepherd Iceland have already been documenting every whale Loftsson’s harpoon ships ‘Hvalur 8’ and ‘Hvalur 9’ and brought back to the company’s whaling station at Hvalfjörður.

Now, for the first time, Sea Shepherd takes the campaign also to the waves to document and report on Hvalur hf’s whaling at sea!

Onboard a vessel chartered by Sea Shepherd UK, we have a experienced crew of campaign veteran photographers and videographers from the UK, Belgium, France, USA and Mexico.

The task of the charter vessel is to safely and without interference track the whaling ships – while the volunteer media crew onboard documents and reports on the harpoon ships Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9 as they hunt the second largest whale on the planet – and for the first time (and hopefully for the last time) to show this unnecessary and cruel commercial fin whaling to the world, and most importantly to Icelandic politicians and citizens.

With the increased publicity our combined land and sea campaign will bring by showing the reality of whaling at sea, together with pressure already being applied from both within Iceland and from the international community - Hvalur hf’s current 4-year licence block will expire at the end of 2023 (as reported at https://bit.ly/3qt9szc) and will hopefully never be renewed again.

The task of our vessel is challenging. Hvalur 8 and 9 refuse to turn on their AIS at sea even in bad weather or poor visibility, or while near Reykjavik or close to other vessels… while our charter vessel transmits our position continuously while in Icelandic waters.

Both of the whaling ships navigate close to shore and through marine areas clearly marked on charts which they should avoid, while our vessel has to follow the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, more commonly known as the COLREGSs – all while being under the close watch of The Icelandic coastguard both by helicopter and by their flagship ‘Thor’.

Hvalur hf has in previous years failed/refused to submit to the authorities (Fiskistova) their ship/whaling log books – a breach of regulations meaning that information on their whaling operations at sea including their ‘struck and lost’ whale data is not scrutinised. Our volunteer crew will also be recording our own observations on areas fin whales are hunted, as well as recording exactly how they are hunted including the number of harpoons fired and time to death if we witness whaling as it happens.

With Sea Shepherd observing Hvalur 8 and 9 at sea in Icelandic waters and out to the Denmark Strait, and as they return to the whaling station with the butchering of fin whales of all sizes including pregnant mothers - Will Loftsson and Hvalur hf continue to harpoon more whales?

Or will Loftsson and anyone else with control of Hvalur hf decide to not kill these majestic whales in front of cameras – in which case whales might be saved?

Sea Shepherd hopes that the majority anti-whaling people of Iceland, Icelandic politicians, the Icelandic media, marine conservation / environmental NGO’s operating in Iceland, Icelandic tourism industry, the whale watching companies and everyone who wants to bring an end to commercial fin whaling – to come together this year for the whales.

We also hope that Kristjan Loftsson and any with influence in Hvalur hf realise that there is no future in whaling. The Midsandur whaling station, two floating whaling ships, and the two beached ships scuttled by Sea Shepherd in 1986 - could become a unique Icelandic Museum. The company’s extensive accommodation and restaurant complex for the whaling station workers nearby could become a highly profitable tourist complex on stunning Havalfjordur.

Commercial fin whaling in Icelandic waters is by a single company. It is not ‘Icelandic whaling’ supported by the people of Iceland. So please support Operation Northern Exposure, both our volunteer crew and land based Icelandic and foreign volunteers by sharing Operation Northern Exposure’s news, videos, photos and livestreams wherever and to whomever you can.

For media enquiries please email:
media@seashepherduk.org and admin@seashepherduk.org

For livestreams visit:
https://www.facebook.com/SeaShepherdUK

For more images from the campaign visit:
https://seashepherduk.myportfolio.com/op-northern-exposure-iceland-2022
& https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/

Note on photo use and copyright:
Photos in this article may be used and shared only if unaltered and individually credited to ‘Sea Shepherd’

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube