When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Port of Southampton denies knowledge of whalemeat shipments
SOUTHAMPTON port has denied knowing of any vessels containing whale meat calling at its docks despite claims by an anti-whaling group.
Campaigners say whale meat shipments have passed through the harbour despite an EU wide ban because of a legal loophole.
Exporters from Norway, which is allowed to hunt whales, have shipped the meat bound for Japan on vessels docking at the port's container terminal, according to research carried out by Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).
The conservationist group claim they found at least one shipment in a container in March of this year.
They say the chopped up and frozen whale meat was stored in the Samskip-owned Frigocare facility in Alesund, Norway, shipped to Tokyo via Southampton before being made into posh Japanese dog food.
The UK government says despite the EU ban, transhipment is legal as long as the correct paperwork is issued.
But Southampton port boss Doug Morrison said he was unaware of any whale meat passing through the container terminal which is run by Dubai Ports (DP).
He said: “We have best part of a million containers coming into the port every year and frankly I don't know what is inside every container.”
Dubai based DP World company said: “When cargo is imported either into the UK or moving through the port as a transhipment it is the responsibility of the shipping line in question to determine from the cargo owner what is in the containers being transported.
“DP World Southampton has no way of ascertaining what is in containers coming through the port.
“The movement of import containers at the terminal is only permitted once approval is granted by the relevant government bodies.”
The company added that it did not condone commercial whale hunting or the importation of whale meat.
But WDC anti-whaling campaigner Vanessa Williams-Grey said its research showed meat was being moved through Southampton, as well as Rotterdam and Hamburg.
She said: “Shipping whale meat across the globe without stopping at EU ports is very expensive for the whalers.
“Transporting it by air is even more costly.
“As a member of the EU, which is against trade in whale products, how can countries like the UK and Germany allow ships like these to dock in their ports and so facilitate and profit from trade in whale meat?”WDC has now written to the EU to raise concerns about Iceland, Norway and Japan shipping whale products via EU ports which also include Hamburg and Rotterdam.
Ms Williams-Greys added: “These whaling countries are not EU members and they refuse to be bound by regulations governing international trade in endangered whale species such as fin whales.
“WDC believes that since the EU prohibits international trade in whale products, that no exception should be made for non-EU countries to abuse its ports by transiting prohibited products.”
Comments are closed on this article.