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Police believe Norwegian whaler deliberately sunk at quay

By dpa news     Sep 14, 2007 in Environment
The sinking of a Norwegian whaler at a quay in the Lofoten Islands off north-western Norway at the end of last month was likely the result of "deliberate action," police said Friday.
The vessel Willassen Senior was salvaged Friday. Police said the probe was ongoing and they had no suspects in the sinking of the vessel at Svolvaer.
As part of the investigation, police invited the public to report any sightings in connection with the sinking at the end of August.
A group of anonymous US-based activists claimed this week they had carried out the sinking "to celebrate the end of commercial whaling in Iceland."
In a statement posted on the website Bite Back Magazine, the group that called itself Agenda 21 said they removed a large section of cooling pipe in the engine room of the vessel Willassen Senior and opened the salt water intake valve, causing the vessel to sink.
The group said they had first checked that no-one was onboard, according to the statement on the website.
The police probe suggested that a pipe had been removed and a valve opened - in line with what the activists maintained.
Greenpeace as well as several Norwegian environmental groups have criticized the sinking.
Iceland in August said it would suspend commercial whale hunting that it resumed in 2006 despite international protests. The North Atlantic nation had earlier conducted whale hunting for research.
In 1993 Norway resumed whaling of minke whales, arguing that hunting was necessary to prevent the minke whale population from growing so large that it threatened fish stocks. dpa lsm pmc