Cruise line urged to ditch Faroe Islands after passengers witness ‘distressing’ whale hunt

Ambassador Cruise Line ship Ambition
By Harry Kemble
10/07/2023
Home » Cruise line urged to ditch Faroe Islands after passengers witness ‘distressing’ whale hunt

Ambassador Cruise Line has apologised to guests who witnessed a whale hunt as their ship sailed into port in the Faroe Islands.  

The operator, which has a partnership with marine conservation charity ORCA, tweeted to say the arrival of 1,400-passenger ship Ambition into Torshavn on Sunday (9 July) coincided with ‘the culmination of a hunt of 40-plus pilot whales in the port area’.

It added: “We strongly object to this outdated practice, and have been working with our partner ORCA, a charity dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK and European waters,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.

“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.”

CEO Christian Verhounig 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 his has happened after weeks of trying to open constructive dialogue with the Faroese Government and Visit Faroes on these issues.

“We continue to educate our guests and crew not to buy or eat any whale meat and stand against any profiteering from commercial whaling and dolphin hunts.”

Several Twitter users urged Ambassador to stop calling at the Faroe Islands.

One said: “The thing to do here is to commit publicly to never visit the islands again and to try to encourage other cruise lines to follow suit,” while another posted: “Take [Faroe Islands] off your port of call.”

A third wrote: “Don’t visit there until they stop this horrific slaughtering. Imagine enjoying killing these beautiful, intelligent and gentle creatures.”

However, in a statement to Travel Gossip, Ambassador said: “The truth of the matter is that, if we felt that boycotting the islands as a stop on our cruise itineraries would make any difference, or change opinion amongst the Faroese authorities, then of course we’d consider it.

“The truth is that it wouldn’t.

“We don’t support the hunt by coming here. We’ll always use it as an opportunity to remind the authorities that tourists want to marvel at the wildlife and not to watch it being killed.

“At some point, the long-term importance of tourist income will be recognised as being more sustainable, uncontroversial and appealing than an activity which has earned nothing for the Faroes other than condemnation globally.

“Visiting gives an opportunity to apply pressure whilst boycotting is the end of any influence or impact that Ambassador can make.”

Ambassador’s ship Ambience is due to call into Torshavn on 15 September this year during a 34-day Grand Canada Greenland Experience.

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