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Mowat officers convicted on seal-hunt charges Add to ...

A Nova Scotia judge has convicted the captain and first mate of the Farley Mowat on charges they interfered with the seal hunt.

Provincial court Judge Jean Whalen ruled Monday that Alex Cornelissen of the Netherlands and first mate Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden are guilty of coming within half a nautical mile of a seal hunt without being properly authorized.

Neither man appeared in court, nor did they have legal counsel for the three-and-a-half day trial that began in Sydney in late April.

The incidents occurred in March and April of 2008.

The Farley Mowat, which was owned by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, had been monitoring the seal hunt off Cape Breton when it was raided at sea on April 12, 2008.

The Farley Mowat had been told several times to back away from the sealers and their vessels but ignored the radioed commands of federal fisheries officers, the judge found.

The Farley Mowat, seized with the arrest of its two officers, remains in Sydney, tied up and unsold.

The defendants have 30 days to appeal, with sentencing set for Sydney on Sept. 10. The maximum penalty for the offences is a fine of $100,000.

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