The Great Southern Ocean Whaling Ship Chase - Day Twelve The Chase Continues

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
On Board the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin

Westward, then Eastward then Westward and then Eastward Again

Whales everywhere and not one to kill.
Whalers run like frightened school girl.
- Sea Shepherd

No one appears to know what the Japanese whalers are doing - including the Japanese whalers.

Last night, after leading the Steve Irwin on a chase 750 miles to the west, the whaling fleet factory ship Nisshin Maru did a 180º turn and headed back east again.

The Yushin Maru No. 2 is hundreds of miles to the east with the rest of the whaling fleet.

But without the Nisshin Maru, there can be no whaling operations, which brings us to the twelfth day since returning to the whale sanctuary that whales have not been killed.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has shifted into high gear public relations mode to disseminate misinformation, including asking the ambassadors of the Netherlands and Australia to call for the condemnation of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

They can lie and say anything they like really, we don't mind, because the bottom line is that Sea Shepherd is succeeding in preventing the Japanese whalers from killing whales. They have yet to reach the halfway mark on their kill quota, and they have only about 10 days left to do so.

A few people have contacted us to say they disapprove of our actions. We are not impressed. We tell them to find us a single whale that disapproves of our actions, and then we will reconsider, but the fact is that our clients are whales - not people - and we intend to represent our clients and to defend them from death and destruction.

We intend in the next 10 days to make it impossible for the whalers to resume their barbaric activities.

We are not worried about any political or legal consequences for our actions. Despite Japanese allegations, we have not injured anyone, and we don't intend to injure anyone. My crew and I deliberately place ourselves into harm's way to protect these whales, and because we have committed ourselves to placing our lives on the line for a cause, non-lethal threats and name calling have absolutely no effect on what we do or how we do it.

Our job down here right now in the Southern Ocean is to stop the illegal killing of whales, and we are doing just that. We will not be deterred by Japanese propaganda and threats. We are here to uphold international conservation law against a vicious whale poaching operation.

There can be no dispute that what the Japanese are doing is poaching. Targeting endangered species like fin whales in an established international whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on whaling and in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order that specifically prohibits Japanese whaling in the Australian Antarctic Territory is - by any definition - poaching.

As I've said many times, the poaching of whales by Japan in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is no different than poaching elephants in Africa, tigers in India, or sharks in the Galapagos National Park.

The one big difference is that rangers shoot elephant and tiger poachers, and the Ecuadorian police jail shark finners. In the Southern Ocean, the Japanese whine about a few stink bombs.

Some of the stories in the Japanese media have been way over the top, but many believe what they read in the newspaper or see on television, and we can't control gullibility. Still, in a strange sort of way, these stories help us to be effective.

In the last few days, Japanese media have reported that we fired over 2,000 containers of chemical acid onto the decks of the Nisshin Maru. They claim that two crew and two Coast Guardsmen were injured in the "attack." They claim we have a missile launcher to fire the containers. They claim that we are firing corrosive acid that is damaging their ship. In the most bizarre claim, they have reported that our crew boarded the factory ship and directly squirted acid into the eyes of the whalers and attacked them on deck with broken beer bottles.

All really dramatic stuff, but all of it over-exaggerated and grossly inaccurate.

The fact is that my crew delivered two dozen VB beer bottles filled with rotten butter acid, which stinks terribly but is less corrosive than orange juice (citric acid). The crew also delivered two dozen paper packets of hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose. This is a non-toxic food grade product that is used to coat pills, making them easier to swallow. It is very slippery in water.

The strategy behind this is to make conditions on deck uncomfortable for processing dead whales. The decks stink and it is difficult to move around. I personally witnessed the impact of every container, and not one container landed in close proximity to any person on the Japanese ship. All containers were thrown by hand. There was no missile launcher.

No Sea Shepherd crew members boarded the Nisshin Maru, and there was no hand-to-hand fighting or crew members squirting anything into the eyes of any of the Japanese crew. The four armed Japanese Coast Guard officers would certainly have some explaining to do if we had boarded the ship and they had not apprehended anyone.

In all of the video footage distributed by the Institute for Cetacean (marketing & product development) Research, there is no video shown of any injuries. If there were indeed injuries, the video would be there for sure - this video footage does not exist, because the injuries were fabricated. It's all just spin-doctoring in an attempt to make the public feel sympathy for whale killers.

I must admit, it is a challenge for the public relation flacks representing the Japanese whaling industry. It is like being hired by serial killers to give them a good image.

But the truth is the truth, and lies, exaggerations, rumors, and distortions will not be enough to bring legal charges against my crew members or myself for simply trying to uphold international law against ruthless whale poachers.   

Sea Shepherd history speaks for itself. We don't cause injuries to sentient beings. We never have and we don't intend to start. The compassion of my crew members even extends to not allowing the products of animal slaughter and abuse to be consumed onboard our ships. We represent kindness to life, and we represent compassion.

So it is indeed a task for the Japanese PR whores to cast compassionate vegan whale defenders as the bad guys, and ruthless whale serial killers as the good guys. That might work in a world where the AXIS powers had prevailed in 1945, but not in the world today where most of the civilized world looks on the killing of whales as murder and most believe that action must be taken to stop the escalating levels of flora and fauna extinctions, and that we must exercise a new morality that seeks to eliminate cruelty against other creatures and destruction of the natural world for profit.

But how does this work in our favor? The Dalai Lama is a Sea Shepherd supporter, and he once sent us a little icon called a Hayagriva. Hayagriva represents the compassionate aspect of Buddha's wrath. What this means is that one should never injure anyone, but when the opposition cannot see enlightenment, you must scare the hell out of them until they do.

Our pirate image works well at doing just that, and when the whalers, sealers, and shark finners begin to believe their own exaggerations about us, it works in our favor. Sometimes the good guys do indeed wear black.