Fish protest ship detained in Shetland –

Fish protest ship detained in Shetland Published:  21 July, 2011

SUPPORTERS of the fishery conservation organisation Sea Shepherd are today trying raise enough money to free their ship, the Steve Irwin, which has been detained in Lerwick, Shetland. It is thought that at a bond of least $1,400,000 will be needed.

The vessel was held after a Maltese bluefin tuna fish farming company, Fish & Fish Ltd , filed a successful law suit in a Scottish Court over alleged damage to fishing gear in the Mediterranean last year. The protestors managed to release several hundred tuna, but two divers working on behalf of the Maltese company were injured and damage was reported.

Following a civil hearing in Scottish court earlier the ship was served with a detaining notice shortly before it was due to leave Lerwick to protest against a whale hunt around the Faroe Islands.

The Sea Shepherd organisation says that unless enough money can be raised the vessel may have to be sold and it is appealing to supporters to help by digging deep.

Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson said in his appeal “I am writing to you from the ship, in Lerwick, Scotland: I need your help to free our flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin.”

He claimed  that while Fish & Fish Ltd  was claiming damages  his organisation believed it had the necessary evidence to support its claim that the fish were caught illegally.

He added:”You’ve already helped save thousands of whales and untold numbers of other marine creatures, but unless we get our ship back soon, whales will die tragic deaths because of our inability to move this ship and protect them.”

While so far there is no comment from the company, it has been defended by the Maltese Government which said Fish & Fish Ltd was acting quite legally and all paperwork was in order.