Eco 'Pirates' hit by £½m demand
A direct-action marine conservation group has been told to put up £520,000 in security to have its ship released from Lerwick harbour in Shetland The Sea Shepherd group's vessel, Steve Irwin, was arrested over a fortnight ago on the authority of a judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh after a Maltese-based aquaculture firm raised an action for damages.
Following the decision to arrest the Steve Irwin, conservation charity Sea Shepherd UK sought to have the order recalled, but the move was rejected last week by Lord Emslie.
In his decision, the judge said: "This was a wholly extraordinary event. It involved a deliberate physical attack on the high seas.
The aquaculture firm, Fish & Fish, has raised an action at the High Court in England seeking £660,000 after claiming that it lost about 600 valuable bluefin tuna when divers from the Steve Irwin tore open netting and released the fish into the sea.
It said it was authorised to operate a fish farm for the species by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and bought live fish caught in an authorised fishery in the Mediterranean and transported them to the farm in floating cages.
It claims that on 17 June last year bluefin tuna were being taken from Libyan waters to Malta when the Steve Irwin arrived at the cages. It alleges the former fishery patrol vessel rammed one of the cages.