At 6am this morning (25th January 2017) Sea Shepherd’s fast boat MV Spitfire finally arrived back in the UK having been released by the Faroese Police following Sea Shepherd’s successful appeal to a Danish Judge in Torshavn, Faroe Islands on the 24th November 2016.
MV Spitfire sailed direct to the Danish Faroe islands from Dunnet Bay in the North of Scotland – clearing customs at Torshavn harbour on 16th August 2014 for 90 days of patrol duties on Operation Grindstop 2014 to save pilot whales and dolphins from being killed in the drive hunts (called ‘grindadráp’ in Faroese) in which approximately 800 to 850 small cetaceans each year.
One month later on the 17th September 2014 a Danish Special forces RHIB pursued Spitfire and the Faroese Police seized the boat the next day at the request of the Faroese Prosecutor following Captain Jessie Treverton’s successful drive of a pod of over 200 dolphins away from the killing bays near Tórshavn.
On the 7th October 2014 a Danish Court hearing in the Faroe Islands ruled the seizure of the MV Spitfire was illegal and the boat was ordered returned to Sea Shepherd U.K. However, the Faroese prosecutor immediately appealed the court’s decision and the trial and appeal was not heard until 24th November 2016
Since then Sea Shepherd UK have been awaiting the boats release and this afternoon at 15:40hrs MV Spitfire finally cleared UK Customs at the port of Scrabster on the North coast of Scotland within sight of where the boat left over 2 years previously. MV Spitfire is now back in the possession of Sea Shepherd UK crew.
Sea Shepherd UK is now submitting the boat for inspections by authorised engineers to determine if any damage has been caused to the boat during it’s 861 days held by the Faroese government before full servicing of the boat prior to future campaign duties.
Background story links on the MV Spitfire case:
28th November 2016 - Spitfire appeal case win
17th September 2014 - Spitfire Seizure on Opreration Grindstop 2014