78 Whales Slaughtered in View of Horrified Cruise Passengers

by SharonKurheg

Watching nearly 80 pilot whales get slaughtered is probably not exactly how one plans to spend part of a cruise, but that’s exactly what happened to over one thousand passengers on Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambition cruise ship at their port of the Faroe Islands a week or so ago.

The British cruise line apologized to customers the day after the July 9 hunt, when locals killed 78 pilot whales – members of the dolphin family – as part of a centuries-old tradition. The company issued a statement via Twitter, condemning the hunt and apologizing to all the passengers aboard the ship at the time.

1. Ambassador can confirm that the arrival of Ambition in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands today coincided with the culmination of a hunt of 40+pilot whales in the port area. We were incredibly disappointed that this hunt occurred at the time that our ship was in port.

2. We strongly object to this outdated practice, and have been working with our partner, ORCA, a charity dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK and European waters, to encourage change since 2021.

3. Sustainability is one of Ambassador Cruise Line’s core values, and we fully appreciate that witnessing this local event would have been distressing for the majority of guests onboard. Accordingly, we would like to sincerely apologise to them for any undue upset.

4. Christian Verhounig, Ambassador CEO, said: “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…

5. …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.”

The Faroe Islands is a Danish Territory located between Scotland, Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic. Passengers aboard the cruise ship had just arrived in the port of Tórshavn when they saw the violent spectacle, which is part of a long-standing and frequently disapproved local tradition called grindadráp (Grindadráp is a Faroese term that translates as whale [“grind”] slaughter [dráp]. Or just “grind” for short).

Hunters use motorboats and a helicopter to corral the whales to a nearby beach before dragging them with hooks and butchering them with knives. The carnage typically turns the sea red with whale blood (Blue Planet Society posted several photos on their Twitter account. It’s pretty graphic. Probably NSFW, trigger warning, etc.).

ORCA (Ocean Research & Conservation Association), a charity dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK and European waters, had the misfortune of having several Ocean Conservationists on the ship at the time of the massacre. Said ORCA in a press release:

Passengers watched on in horror as a flotilla of 40+ small boats and jet-skis drove and herded the pilot whales into shallow waters. A group of 150 people then hauled the animals ashore with hooks and others armed with killing lances slaughtered the animals in the space of 20 minutes. ORCA observed that some of the pilot whales, including a calf, took over 30 seconds to die.

The kill is an annual event, several months long, and summer is often high season. The meat and blubber are distributed among the islanders.

The public’s response to Ambassador’s apology was swift:

  • You have a very easy way to show your objection-stop visiting until they stop the practice! Pointless apologising after the event you know is still happening! — Dr. Fay Cook (she/her)
  • It’s simple. Exclude #FaroeIslands from your route completely. Just don’t support their economy in any way until they stop. You have this power. Use it. — Suzi Tarrant
  • These are empty words. You can’t be outraged if you continue to use this port. Covering your eyes won’t protect the whales. You should pull this from your itinerary. — Julia
  • That is outrageous, you are disappointed because you had to see it. Not because they do it. You are a disgrace. — Nikki Nisbet
  • How disappointed would @ambassadorcruis be if this hunt occurred while their ship was not in port? — Trails with tails
  • Doesn’t sound great that you are disappointed that your passengers saw it, not that it happens — Jungle Janet
  • ‘Incredibly disappointed’ is surely an understatement…the FI know the strength of feeling surrounding these hunts and yet they continue. Whales and dolphins need our protection…do not visit. — Katie Rees
  • Simply stop making that a port visit and see if the loss of revenue helps them change their ways. If not adapt and go elsewhere. They’ve been doing this forever, why are you surprised? — justa-renegade

The cruise line never responded to the 150+ replies. However, 2 days later, they did tweet about how you can win a cabin for 2 during an upcoming prize draw. #rolleyes

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


OceanLover July 21, 2023 - 4:42 pm

Sadly no one really cares. The Faroes are the cool (no pun intended) new place to go -bloggers Lucky, Matt, Ed Pizza and others are going and trumpeting its appeal and the poor mammals and the horrific cultural tradition continues while the numbers of the majestic creatures continue to decline…

Carey July 21, 2023 - 5:49 pm

Nobody in Japan cares about dolphins massacre too. There was a documentary about that.
Travel to Japan continuing as dolphins massacre.

Earl B. July 22, 2023 - 1:36 am

People claim they like to travel so they can experience diverse cultures. Yet, when they witness a truly diverse cultural practice, they recoil in terror. If you can’t handle cultures different from the Upper West Side in Manhattan, maybe you should stay home.


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