The government seized the anti-sealing vessel Farley Mowat to draw attention away from the deaths of four seal hunters, claims seal hunt protester Paul Watson.
In April, armed RCMP officers seized the Farley Mowat and charged the top two crew members with endangering seal hunters on nearby ice by coming too close to them. The seizure came shortly after four seal hunters died when their boat capsized while being towed.
Watson said the charges are untrue and the Farley Mowat was in international waters. He said Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn had the ship seized to deflect controversy over the government’s role in the deaths.
“Absolutely that’s what he’s doing. They don’t want the sealers hating the DFO or the Coast Guard, they want them hating us,” Watson said.
The Farley Mowat currently sits in Sydney Harbour. The Sea Shepherd Society, which owns the Farley Mowat, has refused to pay the $50,000 bond to release the ship because it claims the seizure was an act of piracy.