Multinational Naval Exercise Meant Death and Destruction for Pilot Whales and Orcas


By Kirsten Massebeau

Naval exercises in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean Concluded April 29, 2013

Naval exercises in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean Concluded April 29, 2013

The military is calling their multinational Naval exercises a success: “A giant exercise off the coast of Scotland which involved more than 30 warships and 65 aircraft from 13 European countries has drawn to a close”. During their exercises the Navy tried to recreate war-time situations through the use of sonar, underwater detonations, and other tactical maneuvers.

As well as the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, elements of the Army, RAF and forces from countries including the Netherlands, Canada, France, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Germany, also took part. There were a total of around 12,000 personnel involved. (Source)

3 pilot whales stranded near Portmahomack, Easter Ross April 25, 2013

3 pilot whales stranded near Portmahomack, Easter Ross April 25, 2013

On April 25, 2013 three pilot whales stranded near Portmahomack, Easter Ross. The stranding was immediately connected to the military operations forcing the exercise to move, “Bosses behind the biggest military exercise in Europe were forced to relocate their operation after three whales became stranded on a Scots beach” (source) Sadly the Navy’s change of location would be too late for the three pilot whales, one of which died. 

5 orcas strand off the Coast of Iceland April 29, 2013

4 out of the 6 orcas that stranded off the Coast of Iceland April 29, 2013 died

The biggest Naval exercises in European waters would continue to take it’s toll on cetaceans. On April 29, 2013 five orca stranded off the coast of Iceland. Although none of the countries present have stepped forward to take the blame for the death of this pod the evidence continues to point in the direction of sonar or underwater explosions. Although Iceland is 834 miles from Scotland two points must be made:

1) The exercises were moved

2) The use of sonar in each submarine, and warship could have been used anywhere and at anytime. It’s use is not exclusive to exercises.

April 29, 2013 Iceland a dying orca with bloody eyes cries out for it’s podmates

The information connecting cetacean strandings is always difficult to obtain but don’t we as citizens of the world and advocates for cetaceans and the ocean have a responsibility take action for the dolphins and whales who need our help so desperately. Sonar and seismic testing are deadly to cetaceans. Isn’t it time we started questioning it’s use worldwide. When does the price for war games played in the ocean become too great?

Read an updated article that connects all the dots and lists additional deaths!

Military excercise Joint Warrior & Marine Mammal Casualties: 6 killer whales, 4 pilot whales and one Sowerby’s beaked whale

14 thoughts on “Multinational Naval Exercise Meant Death and Destruction for Pilot Whales and Orcas

  1. Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting! We will destroy everything beautiful. How very sad to hear and see such pain!

  2. I absolutely agree that noise pollution in our oceans is one of the most dangerous threats to cetaceans. Since cetaceans live in a world of sound, they rely on echolocation 100% of the time for absolutely everything – from navigation to feeding to predation avoidance. Because of this, their hearing is extremely sensitive. Extremely loud noises from humans – including sounds from the military training exercises – truly harm cetaceans in various ways and can cause death. Since sound travels much faster and farther underwater than through the air, cetaceans can detect noises very easily. Extremely loud sounds overwhelm cetaceans to a point where they’d become so stressed. Their behaviors and habits change as a result.

    By the way, the extremely loud noises from military training exercises and wartime are absolutely NO different from that created by the Taiji dolphin hunter-killers. Cetaceans become so frightened that they’d flee from the source(s) of extremely loud sounds!

    I would imagine how extremely different the oceanic world must be for cetaceans before humans came to existence!

    I truly wish the U.S. Navy would be as cooperative as the Royal Navy when it comes to making changes for the benefit of cetaceans!

    Extremely loud noises from various human activities should be something that everyone needs to understand and appreciate in terms of threats to cetaceans that result in loss of precious lives!

  3. I absolutely agree that noise pollution in our oceans is one of the most dangerous threats to cetaceans. Since cetaceans live in a world of sound, they rely on echolocation 100% of the time for absolutely everything – from navigation to feeding to predation avoidance. Because of this, their hearing is extremely sensitive. Extremely loud noises from humans – including military training exercises – truly harm cetaceans in various ways and can cause death. Since sound travels much faster and farther underwater than through the air, cetaceans can detect noises very easily. Extremely loud sounds overwhelm cetaceans to a point where they’d become so stressed. Their behaviors and habits change as a result.

    By the way, the extremely loud noises from military training exercises and wartime are absolutely NO different from that created by the Taiji dolphin hunter-killers. Cetaceans become so frightened that they’d flee from the source(s) of extremely loud sounds!

    I would imagine how extremely different the oceanic world must be for cetaceans before humans came to existence!

    I truly wish the U.S. Navy would be as cooperative as the Royal Navy when it comes to making changes for the benefit of cetaceans!

    Extremely loud noises from various human activities should be something that everyone needs to understand and appreciate in terms of threats to cetaceans that result in loss of precious lives!

  4. The time has already come to stop “Playing War Games” at the expense of our cetaceans and other marine mammals. We tried this time with petitions, which I do not believe is enough. I agree we need to talk about this and continue to raise awareness through social media as well as letters and calls to or representatives in government. I am appalled at the out come of this exercise and morn all the deaths caused by it, both know as well as the many unknown ones Paul Youngberg

  5. just makes me SICK… I’ll never understand how people can justify this.. WHAT THE HELL!!!

    • Together we must be the voice for the voiceless! Maybe we can’t understand underwater acoustics because we are land creatures but we must try to understand their suffering from sound!

  6. This is terrible. All our wars just us bloodthirsty for more. When will we learn that we are actually worth more than blood and bullets?

  7. Pingback: Multinational Naval Exercise Meant Death and Destruction for Pilot Whales and Orcas | Kirsten Writes

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