A rapidly growing petition is calling upon St. Kitts to revoke its flag from Winter Bay, a ship carrying 1,700 tonnes of fin whale meat from Iceland.
The petition, conducted by the animal rights group Avaaz, has amassed just over 70,000 signatures at the time of this writing, with the goal of reaching 300,000 signatures within the next few days. The purpose of the petition is to stop the ship Winter Bay from reaching Japan with 1,700 tonnes of fin whale meat by removing its flag of convenience:
As the whalers sharpen their harpoons for this year’s hunt, their boss is trying to ship last year’s whale meat to Japan right now. Over 1,700 tonnes are about to be sent through the icy passage between Russia and the North Pole. But if the tiny Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis simply removes their flag from the vessel it can’t leave port! Tourism is the main pillar of their country’s economy and we can put their reputation on the line by throwing them into our giant global spotlight.
RÚV reports that Winter Bay is currently docked in Tromsö, Norway, and will soon be taking the Northern Route through the Arctic Ocean to Japan.
They point out that Winter Bay has minimal protection against ice floes, and that ice in the Arctic Ocean does not reach its minimum point until August and September. It is uncertain if Winter Bay has any assistance in breaking ice it may encounter along the way.
The fin whale shipment has been receiving international attention. As reported, a coalition of 20 animal rights and environmentalist groups have called on US President Barack Obama to impose sanctions on Iceland over whaling.