Cruise ship cancels tours in St Vincent after slaughter of killer whales in full view of visitors
KINGSTOWN – On the heels of horrified tourists witnessing the killing of two orcas in Vincentian waters, a cruise ship has taken strong action in protest of the age old tradition.
TUI Discovery stopped short of pulling out of the destination, but has cancelled all its whale and dolphin watching tours, iWitness News has reported.
In a grim account, crew member on one of the two Fantasea tours on a whale and dolphin excursion, Ken Issacs, told the online news site that the delight of the rare sighting of a pod of four orcas, also known as killer whales, turned into a bloody tragedy as whalers slaughtered two of the huge sea creatures just off the Leeward coast.
He said the whaling boat, a pirogue with a modified shotgun with a harpoon mounted on the bow, carried three fishermen.
As he realized that the men were taking aim at an orca, he shouted to them to leave it alone, but was immediately dismissed.
A persistent Issacs then instructed the captain of the boat to go over to where the large killer whale was, but as they turned away the fishermen shot the first orca.
Issacs recounted hearing a loud explosion as the spear hit the killer whale.
He said guests were visibly shaken and many were crying, even as they returned to shore in Kingstown.
Issacs, who was angered by the incident, lamented that while whaling remains a legal practice in St Vincent, there was nothing traditional about people in speedboats using spear guns to kill whales.
He urged the government to ban whaling and instead develop a commercial market for whale watching.
Photo: One of the two Orcas killed by fishermen (credit: iwnsvg.com)